New tax on undeveloped zoned land in Ireland?

There is a shortage of housing in Ireland, particularly in Dublin.  Few residential developments (estates) have been built during the years of the economic recession.  However, now that the economy is improving and the future looks brighter, the Irish government is concerned about reports that land which has been zoned for residential development is not being brought forward by owners and developers who appear to be waiting for a rise in the market price for their finished product.

The General Scheme of the Planning and Development (No. 1) Bill 2014 has been published, which sets out the likely contents of the new Planning Act. The proposals include allowing Councils to apply a vacant site levy on owners of vacant and under-utilised urban sites (zoned and serviced and therefore ready to go in terms of planning application), identified in County and City Development Plans and Local Area Plans.

While evidence that land is being held back in anticipation of market improvements is mainly anecdotal, the Department of Finance issued a consultation paper seeking views on whether new tax measures, in particular a ‘vacant site levy’ can and should be used to encourage new house building as soon as possible.

The consultation runs from 16th February until 8th May 2015 and further details are available from the Department of Finance website:

http://www.finance.gov.ie/sites/default/files/Finance_Zoned_Serviced_Land_Public%20Consultation_0.pdf

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