The legislation does not require the Dept to send any request for payment, presumably because in our ‘knowledge economy’ country there is no comprehensive database of house owners.
Living as I do in an area where there are a number of houses in foreign ownership I have been contacted by a number of people who know that I have spent most of my life living outside Ireland. In just one case, a French person who discovered by accident his ‘obligations’ and is not against the idea of paying, has discovered, that, despite having never been approached for payment, he owes the 2009 fee since 31.10 2009 and 5 times the ‘fine’ (€100) because he cannot ensure his payment arrives before 1.3.2010, so another month is added.
I am ashamed and appalled, as an Irish citizen, that our country exploits our friends and neighbours in such a fashion. When I approached Cork CoCo to finds out whether people in this French person’s situation could claim lack of knowledge as a basis for not paying the €100 fine, I was treated in a cavalier fashion, it was clearly indicated that foreigners should make themselves aware of their obligations and that ‘they’ (the staff of Cork CoCo ) were “just following the law”…… an easy excuse.
I simply do not appreciate how a tax of such nature can be applied in the present circumstances and fashion. The cost of collection will, by any measure, reduce the income significantly and the lack of data on house owners will ensure that a significant number of owners will not be traced.
As a Minister and a citizen Gormley should be ashamed to have been the originator of such a law. It is nothing more than a populist measure to garner the support of the anti-foreigner and those who feel owning a second property is not acceptable, despite the fact that many such properties provide much needed accommodation in the post boom lack of reasonable cost housing.
OK, so this may seem like a rant by a 'rich' person. I appreciate that 'johnny foreigner' is seen as an easy touch and anyway if is 'only' €200. However, a law which collects tax and does not require a calculation or a demand for payment by the authorities is an insidious
new method of money collection, which will, presumably, be re-used.