New form sent out has caused 'sleepless nights' for many business people, hears Cashel Tipperary municipal district
Tipperary Cashel municipal district moved to reassure the public that there hasn’t been a huge jump in business rates at this month’s meeting.
Head of Finance with Tipperary Co Council Liam McCarthy said the Council has been inundated with worried business people after a statement was issued with instructions for how to calculate the new rates which many members of the public had misunderstood.
The result is that business people all over the county now believe their rates have doubled, when they have not.
Cllr Michael Fitzgerald invited Mr McCarthy to clarify the letter sent to business people which had caused them “sleepless nights.” There was a lot of misinformation out there, said Mr McCarthy. The proposed valuation issued last week contained a “net annual value” and that figure has been used to calculate the new rate for 2020, by applying a factor of .21. “A lot of people think that is the proposed rate. There’s a calculator on our website. It’s roughly a fifth of the figure that appears there.”
The other important figure on the form is the date of issue, this is the date from which the rate payer has 40 days from which to make an appeal. “In addition to that, we are holding clinics in each of the municipal districts,” said Mr McCarthy.
In Cashel-Tipperary this clinic will take place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week (March 27/28) from 10am to 4pm, in the municipal offices on the Rosanna Road in Tipperary town. Similar clinics will be held in Thurles, Nenagh, Clonmel and Carrick-on-Suir. “They can come in and talk to the valuations officer. It’s important that the bring the information they have received. Someone from the rates office will indicate how they can make an appeal if they are unhappy.”
Each rate payer was asked for information regarding their properties which is then used to calculate the rates. About 40% of Tipperary rate payers have given this information so far, which is in line with other counties.
Cllr Michael Fitzgerald said it was a pity that people had picked up the “wrong message”. “People have enough worries” and it’s a pity “it’s not more straight forward.”
Cllr Tom Wood said he welcomed the clarification. “To say people were shocked was an understatement. People were absolutely shattered when they misread it. People in Cashel were nearly crying. I knew one man who said he would not be able to open his doors next year.” One person told him they had “sleepless nights” thinking about it.
Cllr Denis Leahy said people were not able to understand the form sent out. “The .21 is kind of alien to me,” he said. One man he knew discovered his rates had increased from €500 to €12,452 under the new system. “This particular business man employs 40 people. I don’t know how we can justify putting 40 jobs at risk,” said Cllr Leahy. The UK takes into account changes in footfall when calculating rates, and Ireland should too, added Cllr Leahy.
Cllr Roger Kennedy said he knew of one gentleman in Cashel who thought his rates had gone up by 50%. “It is leading to more confusion. I welcome the clarification.”
Cllr Martin Browne stressed that people can go on to the relevant website and use the online calculator to calculate the rate themselves.
Mr McCarthy added that people who have vacant properties should engage in the process also, as their next available chance to calculate a rate will be in five years time. He said he found it “hard to believe” that one man’s rates could jump from €500 to over €12,000 and there may be some error involved.