A letter recently sent from the Office of the Revenue Commissioners to the Irish owner of a French property landed on our news desk last week.

In it, Inspector of Taxes C Lyng wrote: “Dear Madam, I refer to the property at (address removed here), France. Please now confirm the following: 1 How the purchase was financed. 2 How the property is being utilised. If the property has been let, please forward a schedule of the lettings for all years. Please also complete fully the enclosed Form 12 2007.”

While Revenue has stated it has sent 2,500 such letters nationwide, some property commentators believes the real number to be considerably heavier.

Speaking to The Munster Express, Colm Murphy of Property Tax International said these letters were part of a new EU Directive set to make it “extremely difficult for anyone with a property abroad to hide from Revenue”.

He added: “The letters we have seen are not threatening but simply state the location of the overseas property in question, request for information on how the purchase was funded, if rental income was received and if a tax declaration had been filed.”

Mr Murphy said that the new measures marked a clear indication that tax offices across the Member States are attempting “to clamp down on tax evaders”.

This, coupled with Minister Lenihan’s introduction of a new €200 levy on second homes is not good use for investment and lifestyle property owners, according to PTI

“The process of how the levy will be paid has yet to be decided but those with investment properties, second homes which are not their principle private residents and properties abroad are to be hit with a €200 bill for every property they own,” read PTI’s statement.