Wednesday 19 September 2018

Proposal to increase vacant land levy to 25pc

Independent TD Mick Wallace Picture: Steve Humphreys
Independent TD Mick Wallace Picture: Steve Humphreys
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The Government will not oppose a Bill proposing to impose a vacant tax levy of 25pc on developers who are hoarding land.

A number of measures have been introduced in recent years to clamp down on land owners sitting on sites in the hope of cashing in following a rise in market rates.

However, under a new law proposed by Independents4Change TD Mick Wallace the levy would be increased from 3pc to 25pc of market value if the land is deemed to meet the criteria of a vacant site.

The proposed levy is substantially higher than the incoming increase announced by the Government as part of Budget 2018 measures, which will see the levy more than double to 7pc of the land value.

Under Mr Wallace's proposed law sites would be deemed vacant if planning permission exceeds 12 months or if work is not completed within 36 months.

The bill also looks to remove all exemptions to the levy, including the exemptions or reductions to the tax in cases where there is a loan attached to the site.

There is also a provision in the Bill which would allow site owners, prior to paying the levy, to negotiate with State bodies or local authorities with a view to selling the site at up to 60pc of its value if it is deemed suitable for the provision of housing. After paying the levy the law would allow for the site owners to sell the land to State bodies for up to 40pc of its market value.

It is understood that while the Government will not oppose the Bill, it has "serious concerns" around various issues including whether it will impact on a person's constitutional right to own property. The Bill also comes ahead of legislative changes which are due to be enacted ahead of the summer recess. Among those changes is the increase to 7pc for the levy, a refined definition of vacant sites and new measures to ensure that planning permissions are activated sooner and development is not delayed.

Irish Independent

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