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Cabinet split over property tax grab

Gilmore out on limb as FG stands firm on payment before Christmas

THE Coalition is deeply divided over the Revenue's pre-Christmas property tax grab, with Fine Gael insisting that there will be no climbdown on the controversial payment deadline.

The Cabinet will discuss the debacle at its meeting on Tuesday as tensions mount among ministers over homeowners being asked to pay a 2014 tax in 2013.

Fine Gael figures are enraged by Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore calling for the payment deadline to be pushed out. And a Dail committee is going to haul in Revenue officials to answer questions on the communication with householders.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Finance Minister Michael Noonan are not for turning and are standing by Revenue's independence. Mr Gilmore is standing over his call for Revenue to "reconsider the deadline" for those making the one-off payment.

The Tanaiste is now out on a limb and will be embarrassed if there is no change to the deadline.

Speaking last night to the Sunday Independent at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Dublin where the Fine Gael Presidential dinner was taking place, Taoiseach Enda Kenny backed the Revenue Commisioners' right to implement taxes as they see fit.

He said: "The Government decides what policy is, the Revenue Commissioners implement and enforce that policy."

"Nobody ? and I repeat nobody ? is required to pay the 2014 property tax in 2013, but I would encourage as many people as possible to use the options, of which there are up to six , to ensure that they pay their property tax in 2014."

Asked directly about Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's comments on the property tax the Taoiseach said: "The Tanaiste reflects the opinion that the Government and the Dail are an entirely separate matter. Government decides what policy is; the Dail legislates for that policy; and the Revenue Commissioners, an entirely independent body and rightly so, implements that policy."

Almost a million homeowners have just weeks to sort out how to pay their property tax bill for 2014. But there is widespread confusion about why compliant taxpayers are being asked to pay a tax in 2013 that isn't due until 2014.

Payment by credit card, debit card or cheque is due by November 27. Homeowners need to confirm their payment method for 2014 by November 27, if doing so online, or by November 7, if doing so by paper.