The following advice from the Irish Tax Institute should provide an answer to any questions you may have relating to your NPPR charge. If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact Burns Nowlan Solicitors.
What is the Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) charge?
The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 introduced an annual €200 charge on non principal private residences, payable by the owner of the NPPR to the Local Authority in whose area the property concerned is located. This charge was announced by Minister Lenihan in Budget 2009.
Important Note: The last year for which the NPPR applies is 2013. Non principal private residences are subject to both the NPPR charge and the Local Property Tax in 2013.
From 2014 onwards, they are subject to the Local Property Tax only.
What types of properties are liable for the NPPR charge?
Subject to certain exclusions (see below) the NPPR charge applies to every residential property owned by a person which is not the principal or main residence of the owner. This includes any house, maisonette, flat, apartment or bedsit.
What types of properties are exempted from the NPPR charge?
The Local Government (Charges) Act 2009 applies the charge to the owners of all residential property but goes on to exclude certain property or buildings from the definition of “residential property” and it also provides certain exemptions from the concept of ownership.
The main exemption from the charge is for a property which is the sole or main residence of the person who owns it, commonly referred to as a principal private residence (PPR).
While the exemption for a PPR covers one property only, a further limited exemption may apply where a person is moving house and temporarily owns two properties. This exemption covers a second residential property acquired within one year of the liability date where the first property is sold no less than six months after the liability date. For an explanation of “liability date”, see heading entitled “When is the charge payable?”.
Additional exemptions include:
- A mobile home, caravan or vehicle;
- a newly constructed residential building that is unsold and has not yet been used as a dwelling, provided it forms part of the trading stock of a business;
- a residential property owned by an approved charity;
- a residential property occupied under a shared ownership arrangement with a housing authority or a building let by a housing authority, voluntary housing body or the HSE;
- a residential property held in a discretionary trust which is an approved charity;
- a residential property occupied rent free by a relative of the owner of the property provided the said residential property is located no more than 2 km from the PPR of the owner. This would include a Granny flat and other similar residences;
- a residential premises owned by a person who lives elsewhere by reason of physical or mental incapacity;
- a building liable to commercial rates;
- where a decree of divorce or judicial separation has been granted and a spouse owns the PPR of the other spouse, then he/she will not be liable to the charge in respect of that property.
The Act should be consulted about these exemptions. The Act is available – Local Government Charges Act 2009
It is important to note however that penalties apply for late payment of the charge (see below).
How do I pay the charge?
You can pay the charge electronically at the website http://www.nppr.ie/. To pay your NPPR charge online you will need your PPS number, the address of your NPPR property or properties and your debit card or credit card details. Liability to pay the charge is determined on the basis of ownership of the property in question on a single day each year. This date is called the “liability date”.
For 2009, the liability date is 31st July and an owner of a qualifying residential property must pay the charge by 30 September 2009. For the year 2010 and subsequent years the liability date has been set as 31 March and the NPPR charge must be paid by 31 May each year.The Act provides for a grace period of one month for late payment. Therefore, if a charge is not paid within a month after the last date for payment, a late payment fee will apply for every month or part of a month that the €200 charge remains unpaid. For 2009, this means that the late payment fee will apply to all payments made after 31 October 2009.
For 2010 and subsequent years, the late payment fee will apply to all payments made after 30 June. The late payment fee for each property amounts to €20 per month or part of a month. An unpaid charge and unpaid late payment penalties will be a charge on the residential property in question. This is likely to lead to difficulties in selling the residential property as the person buying it would become liable for any charges and fees outstanding in respect of the property concerned. In the event of a sale, the prospective purchaser will require a receipt or certificate from the local authority as proof that the charge has been paid.
The owner of a qualifying property must make a declaration to the relevant local authority that the property is liable to the charge. This declaration must be accompanied with payment of the charge. The declaration can be made through the web-site or in writing on the approved form (which may be downloaded from http://www.nppr.ie/).
The following information must be provided:
- Name of the owner of the property;
- Address of the property;
- Address for correspondence of the owner of the property;
- Personal Public Service Number of the owner of the property in the case of a private ownership;
- Tax reference of the owner where the owner is a company
A person who does not pay the charge will be guilty of an offence and leaves themselves open to prosecution by the Local Authority to whom the payment is due.
How much is the charge?
The charge is currently set at an annual rate of €200 in 2009 per chargeable residence. The Act provides that the Minister may increase this charge from time to time, having regard to changes in the consumer price index.
Is the NPPR Charge tax deductible against my rental income?
A person in receipt of rental income is assessed to income tax on the net amount of the rents received, i.e. the gross rents less allowable expenses incurred in earning those rents. Only those expenses that are specified in the Tax Acts are allowable. The main deductible expenses are:
- Any rent payable by the landlord in the case of a sub-lease;
- The cost to the landlord of any goods provided or services rendered to a tenant;
- The cost of maintenance, repairs, insurance and management of the property;
- Interest on borrowed money used to purchase, improve or repair the property;
- Payment of local authority rates.
Revenue and the Department of Finance have indicated that the payment of the NPPR charge for residential properties is not an allowable expense in computing taxable rental income as it is not included on the list of allowable items.
In the lead-up to the payment deadline, the Irish Taxation Institute directed a number of questions on the operation of the NPPR charge to the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (DEHLG). Those questions, together with the responses received, are provided below. Can you please confirm if and how the NPPR charge is to apply to overseas owners?
Yes, the charge does apply to overseas owners. The online payment mechanism on the NPPR webpage (available here) will accept a payment without a PPS number if the non-resident checkbox is ticked.
How does the NPPR charge apply to a large property divided into different flats, bedsits or apartments? Where a property is divided into different flats, bedsits or apartments a charge applies to each flat, bedsit or apartment.
Can you please advise whether the NPPR charge can arise in circumstances where a commercial premises and residential premises are in the same building – for example, an apartment above a shop? In the case of an apartment over a shop, it is the normal practice of the Valuation Office to rate just the commercial premises and ignore the residential part of the building. In such cases, the residential part of the building becomes liable for the charge.
Is rent-controlled accommodation exempt from the NPPR charge? There is no exemption for landlords of rent-controlled accommodation.
If a landlord receives rent from the property then, under the provisions of the Act, the landlord is an “owner” and therefore liable even if the rent received is a reduced or nominal amount.
Can you please confirm that estate agents who collect rent on behalf of a landlord but have no interest in the property cannot be liable to the NPPR charge? If an estate agent or management company receives the rent of the property on behalf of the owner, then they may be liable for the charge in their capacity as agent for the owner.
In this situation, if the estate agent or management company wants to ensure that they have discharged their obligations under the Act, they may want to consider paying the charge and advising their client that they are taking the amount out of the rent they are passing to the client.
In circumstances where there are co-owners of a property, it is clear that if one co-owner pays the charge it absolves the other co-owners from doing so; however, the payment by one co-owner would not appear to absolve the others from the necessity to file a declaration? Under Section 5 of the Act, “owners” must submit a declaration of liability. The DEHLG recognises the technical issue; however, as a matter of practicality there should never be an issue of a local authority pursuing the prosecution of a person for the non-declaration of a liability in such a case. In practice, where a liable residential property is co-owned, local authorities accept the personal details of just one of the co-owners on the registration form.
As the NPPR charge is payable to the local authority, it is to all extents and purposes a rate and therefore it should be a deductible expense (Section 97 of TCA 1997 provides that local authority rates are a deductible expense). Could you confirm the Department’s position on this?
The question of whether payment of the €200 charge is an allowable expense in computing taxable rental income is a matter for the Revenue Commissioners. The advice that DEHLG has received from Revenue is that the €200 charge is not an allowable expense for this purpose on the basis that it is not an expense under Section 97(2) TCA 1997.
The definition of “owner” is unclear in certain circumstances. This is best clarified by way of example as follows:
Many holiday cottages or properties can have numerous owners. Generally such properties are initially sold by way of grant of a long lease that retains a right to a nominal peppercorn rent. The original vendor in such circumstances may therefore be in receipt of rent (albeit nominal) and has a residual interest in the property, and therefore could be considered an owner within the meaning of the Act. The purchaser under the long lease often then grants a further lease to an operational company that can be of anything up to 20 years. This individual clearly has ownership rights and is also in receipt of rent under the operational lease. The operational company in turn has ownership rights and normally would seek to let the units on short-term leases. These operational companies are also in receipt of rent and could also be deemed an owner.
Therefore in the above example there are three potential owners, all with different interests in the property. Could you please clarify how the definition of owner should be applied in such circumstances, as clearly an original owner in the above example would want assurance that he or she could not be held secondarily liable should other owners fail to pay the charge?
In such circumstances, each “owner” as defined in the Act, i.e. receiving or liable to receive the rent of a property, is jointly and severally liable. However, where an owner is considered akin to a freehold owner who is entitled to ground rent, then he or she may not be liable. In a situation where a purchaser grants a lease to an operational company, both parties would appear to be jointly and severally liable. However, the charge would not apply to properties in respect of which commercial rates are paid.
Is a company considered a person for the purposes of the definition of “owner” under Section 1 of the Act and for the purposes of Section 3(1) of the Act?
Yes, a person is understood to include a company in the Act.