Council denies harassing people over ‘second homes tax’ bills

Kerry County Council’s Head of Finance has denied that the council is harassing people who have large bills outstanding for the so-called second home tax. Angela McAllen Head of Finance KCC Angela McAllen told a meeting of the council that payment plans are in place for people with monies due under the Non-Primary Principal Residence charge or NPPR. The meeting heard that some people who were completely unaware of the charge were now facing bills including penalties of over €7,000. Moving the motion, Cllr Michael Cahill said an appeals process should be put in place for people who were not informed about the NPPR charge. He said the penalties for non-payment were very excessive; he was dealing with a man in his sixties who was in tears because he could not afford a bill of over €7,000. Cllr Toiréasa Ferris said that if people had a genuine reason for not paying the charge in the first place, the council should do the right thing and exercise discretion. Head of Finance, Angela McAllen said that the legislation which introduced the charge in 2009 was very stringent but the council wasn’t harassing people who hadn’t paid. She said the council had been proactive in putting payment plans in place for those with outstanding bills. Ms McAllen agreed there had been some very sad cases which she had come across. Council chief executive, Moira Murrell, said they are looking for practical solutions and there might be some limited room for negotiation in some cases. She said she would report back to the council with a firmer assessment of the situation.