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Tax-return research shows low level of vacant properties, says Donohoe



Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe

A preliminary analysis of local property tax (LPT) returns by the Revenue Commissioners shows there is a “low” number of vacant residential units across the country, according to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe.

He said he and his department will have to fully assess the figures before reverting to Government with proposals for a vacant property tax.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien insisted recently that the Government would introduce the vacant property tax in Budget 2023.

A commitment to the tax was given by Government in its Housing For All plan.

“It’s important to get a real handle on what is the level of vacancy,” Mr O’Brien told Newstalk last month.

It has been estimated that there are as many as 137,000 vacant residential properties across the country.

Mr Donohoe was questioned last week by Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty regarding the tax and whether the Government would introduce it in the forthcoming Finance Bill. Mr Donohoe said the timetable for delivery of the tax measure under the Housing for All policy is the second quarter of 2022.

He said that Revenue has been able to collect data via LPT returns in relation to properties, such as their occupancy status, how long they may have been unoccupied and the reason for that.

“This information, together with information from other available sources, will be used to assess the merits and impact of introducing a vacant property tax.

“In considering the case for such a tax it is important to have a sound understanding of the quantity, locations and characteristics of long-term vacant properties,” Mr Donohoe said.

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“Revenue have completed a preliminary analysis of the LPT returns received to date, which has been shared with my department.

“The results of the preliminary analysis suggest that levels of vacancy are low across all counties.

“I will consider the issue in consultation with colleagues before reverting to Government with proposals on the appropriate response. I understand Revenue intends to publish a profile of the occupancy data from the LPT returns in due course.”

He said addressing vacancy and dereliction, and maximising the use of the existing housing stock, “is a priority objective” of the Government.

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