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Ombudsman investigating ‘extortionate’ NPPR demand

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The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating a complaint from a Galway City property owner – who has lived in the US for the past 16 years – after receiving a so-called ‘second homes tax’ bill for more than €4,200 from the City Council.

Sarah Manning has branded the Council “gangsters” and accused them of extortion for allowing her tax liability on the house build up over five years, without informing her.

The ex-pat registered her property in Knocknacarra as a rental property with the Council in 2002, but only learned of the existence of the annual €200 Non Principal Private Residence (NPPR) tax when the local authority wrote to her last week, informing her of the NPPR liabilities and that a figure of €4,220 is due.

That figure will increase to €7,230 if unpaid by the end of this month (the initial amount due would be €1,000 in total, but increases due to penalties). The charge was in place from 2009 to 2013 but has been replaced by the Local Property tax.

Despite registering her details with the Council in 2002, paying tax on rental income and paying the Local Property Tax, she was never made aware of the NPPR levy.

“Galway City Council were fully aware of my whereabouts for the last 11 years, and they allowed the delinquency to amass to over 400% more than the original charge, and opted to notify me a mere two weeks before it is increased to being over 700% beyond that original charge, and threaten that if I don’t come up with the money within two weeks, it will be a lien recorded against my property until paid in full.

“Who, other than gangsters does this? This is extortion, pure and simple. Is this all some nefarious trap for the unwary to raise more money for local councils and the Irish Government by those misfortunate enough like myself to be living overseas from 2009-14 who were totally unaware that this tax was imposed and allowed go into delinquency status, accumulating interest at the rate of 10% per month, and thus slowly eating away at the equity in my property there?” Ms Manning wrote to the Ombudsman.

The Council has pointed out that since the NPPR tax is a self-assessment charge, no invoices or notices are issued.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Finance Minister among key speakers at three-day conference on the regions

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David Minton, Director of the Northern & Western Regional Assembly.

Balanced and sustainable regional development will be top of the agenda when new Finance Minister Michael McGrath addresses a special three-day Regions in Focus 2023 event beginning next Tuesday week, February 7.

The Association of Irish Regions (AIR) event will see a host of leading academics and industry experts gather for workshops, seminars and specialised training from February 7 to 9 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Coolshannagh, Co. Monaghan.

And the future development of counties, including Galway city and county, will be discussed and debated at the event attended by leading figures from industry, academia, and policymaking.

Attendees will also include representatives from Ireland’s three regional assemblies, who will offer their perspectives on the big challenges facing Ireland’s regions, including climate change, regional inequality, and the transition to renewable energy.

David Minton, Director of the Northern and Western Regional Assembly, which covers Galway and the North West, admitted that recent years had been difficult for the region.

“We’ve seen longstanding economic fault lines such as the shortage of housing and reliance on non-renewable energy exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and the continuing fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, placing further pressure on households and businesses,” he said.

“Events such as Regions in Focus 2023 give us the opportunity to meet with lawmakers and leading experts in industry and academia, to exchange ideas about how to improve the prospects of our respective regions for the benefit of the whole economy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Digital Accounting degree adds up for ATU Galway

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ATU Galway...Digtital Accounting.

ATU Galway has unveiled a new honours degree in Digital Accounting. The four-year, Level 8 degree (including a work placement in year three) offers the best of both worlds – careers in accounting and in the rapidly growing digital business field.

Students can expect a strong focus on practical learning, work placement and projects.  Much of the learning will take place in specialized classrooms and laboratories.

Applicants for this degree do not need to have studied accounting or business previously, nor do applicants need to have studied honours maths.

Furthermore, there is no need to be a ‘techie’ or be into computing – there is no coding or software development involved as the degree focusses on using software products as tools for Digital Accounting and Digital Business.

“Our aim is to prepare students to operate successfully in ‘real world’ situations,” explained Deirdre Lusby, Head of Department of Business & Accounting at ATU Galway.

“We have a top class and dedicated lecturing team and access to the latest technologies so students can develop the knowledge, skills, and professional competencies they will need for their future careers”.

“Lecturers on this programme are highly qualified professional accountants and digital technology specialists, many acting as examiners and lecturers for the professional accounting bodies,” added Seamus Lennon, Head of School of Business at ATU Galway.

“They maintain very close links with all of the professional bodies, industry, and employers.  We are extremely excited about this new degree programme, with graduates having career options in areas such as accounting, business, blockchain, systems analysis and digital auditing.”

For more information, go to www.atu.ie.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Workers seek new horizons

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Survey...Barry Whelan, CEO of Excel Recruitment.

Employers could have a fight on their hands to hold onto their staff this year – after a new survey revealed that six in ten workers could potentially change jobs in 2023 and almost one in three are definitely considering it.

These are the findings the Excel Recruitment Employee Feedback Survey, released in tandem with Excel Recruitment Annual Salary Guide 2023), which show that in terms of salaries across the board, the recruitment specialists are seeing a percentage swing of increase in the median of three to eleven per cent.

The new research has revealed that while this time last year, 65 per cent of employers signalled salary increases in the upcoming year, this has risen to 71 per cent twelve months later, as most employers say pay rises are definitely being considered.

“The ‘Great Resignation’ of 2022 has massively affected employers, especially when organisations urged workers to return to their respective offices,” revealed Barry Whelan, CEO of Excel Recruitment.

“It led to companies increasingly having open positions, which caused disruptions in their daily operations. The remaining employees needed to compensate for the lack of manpower leading to immense workloads and also driving employee burnout which affected their overall performance and productivity.

As well as driving up wages, high employee expectations are forcing more employers to offer a hybrid working option.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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