Council writes off €2.5 million in irrecoverable rates

Donegal County Council has written off more than €2.5 million in irrecoverable rates for 2013.

The amount of irrecoverable rates for 2013 fell considerably compared to 2012 when almost €6.1m was written off.

The council has carried forward arrears of more than €12m from last year, compared to over €10m that was carried from 2012.

Properties that are vacant or for lease accounted for more €1.5m of the total amount written off.

Write-offs for the community and voluntary sector amounted to over €210,000.

The council’s director of finance, Garry Martin, said the main factors behind the write-off include the economic downturn, the finalisation of a number of liquidations and the introduction of informal temporary apportionment, which allows floor space that is not being used to be deducted for rating purposes. Almost €240,000 was written off for informal temporary apportionment in 2013.

Mr. Martin said outstanding debts are pursued in all cases “and it is only when all avenues have been exhausted that consideration is given to writing off a debt”. He said the council is continuing to engage with customers who are in arrears but the local authority reserves the right to take legal action.

“Enforcement action in certain instances is something we have done and continue to do,” he said.

But when a company dissolves the council has no option but to write off the debt as there is no entity to pursue for the debt, he said.

The council says that the actual cash collected increased in 2013 rose by €318,682 from €16.5m the year before.


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