The Irish government has identified additional land that falls within the scope of the Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) through new supplemental maps. The aim of the RZLT is to activate land for residential development throughout the country, rather than to raise revenue. The tax will apply from 2024 to relevant land at a rate of 3% of market value. The newly published supplemental maps identify additional lands, zoned residential or mixed use, which may be subject to the tax. Landowners are being urged to check their local authority’s supplemental map to see if it applies to them. Landowners can make a submission to their local authority to challenge the inclusion of their land in the RZLT supplemental maps, and the deadline for doing so is June 1. Residential properties, while they might be on the map, are not liable for the tax if they are subject to Local Property Tax.
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien have announced the publication of these supplemental Residential Zoned Land Tax maps by a number of local authorities. Commenting on the release of the supplemental maps, Minister McGrath said: “This is an important step in the RZLT implementation process whereby, following the draft map publication, additional land within the scope of the tax has been identified by a number of local authorities and third parties. Landowners whose land is included on a supplemental map should now review the map and consider if their land meets the criteria for inclusion and make submissions to their local authority accordingly.” In December 2023, finalised maps will be prepared by local authorities identifying the land to be taxed. The final maps will be revised annually from 2025 onwards.
The RZLT has proven highly controversial with farming organisations, who are concerned that private farmland may be brought under the scope of the tax. The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) said that it has engaged senior counsel to examine if the RZLT, which will come into force from next February, is “unconstitutional”. The association said that it wants to examine all potential aspects of the new legislation, including its implementation, the operation of the tax, and constitutional issues. The IFA has warned that the new land tax will have a “significant impact on many farmers with lands adjoining towns and villages throughout rural Ireland”.
The RZLT is part of the government’s broader strategy to address the housing crisis in Ireland. The tax is intended to incentivise landowners to develop their land for residential use. The government hopes that the tax will lead to an increase in the supply of new homes in areas where there is a high demand for housing. The tax is also intended to discourage land hoarding and speculation, which can drive up land prices and make housing less affordable.
The RZLT has been criticised by some as being too broad in its scope. Critics argue that the tax will unfairly target farmers and other landowners who have no intention of developing their land for residential use. They also argue that the tax will discourage investment in land and could lead to a decrease in the supply of land for development. Supporters of the tax argue that it is necessary to address the housing crisis and that it will encourage landowners to develop their land for residential use.
The controversy surrounding the RZLT highlights the challenges facing the Irish government as it seeks to address the housing crisis. The government has struggled to balance the need for increased housing supply with the concerns of farmers and other landowners. It remains to be seen how effective the RZLT will be in incentivising landowners to develop their land for residential use, and whether it will have unintended consequences for the wider economy.
In conclusion, the publication of the supplemental Residential Zoned Land Tax maps is an important step in the implementation of the RZLT. Landowners are being urged to check their local authority’s supplemental map to see if it applies to them, and to make a submission to their local authority to challenge the inclusion of their land in the RZLT supplemental maps if they wish to do so. The controversy surrounding the RZLT highlights the challenges facing the Irish government as it seeks to address the housing crisis, and it remains to be seen how effective the tax will be in incentivising landowners to develop their land for residential use.