Fewer than one in three owners of second homes paid their €200 tax this year. Last year the tax was paid on more than 310,000 so-called "non-principal private residences" but so far in 2010 fewer than 85,000 of those homeowners have paid up. The liability date for the tax was set at 31 March this year, meaning property owners of second homes had until the end of May to pay.

However, the Department of the Environment said last week that it expect the level of compliance to rise significantly this month as late payment fees will not be applied until the beginning of July.

The tax on second homes has brought in €17m for the government so far this year. Last year the tax, which is self-assessed, raised €63.3m.

The €200 tax on 'non-principal private residences' was introduced in the budget in October 2008 and was designed to boost funding for local authorities which have been hamstrung by the collapse in revenue from development and other construction levies.

Last year the tax raised more than €11.5m in the Dublin City Council area alone, but so far this year just €3.1m has been paid over by landlords.

Cork County Council was the second-biggest recipient of the tax last year, raising just under €5.3m, while slightly more than €1.15m has been paid over this year. At the other end of the scale, Monaghan County Council received less than €455,000 from the tax last year.