Unfair that Small Landowners and Farmers are facing Brunt of Residential Zoned Land Tax – Tóibín
Aontú Leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín, has cautioned against the current framework and implementation of the newly introduced Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT).
Speaking today, Deputy Tóibín said: “This piece of tax legislation, as it is being implemented, is not fit for purpose. It will not achieve its stated aims of bringing idle zoned and serviced residential lands into the housing market, but will, instead, have a devastating impact on small landowners, many of whom are small farmers. The manner in which this tax is being shoved at already squeezed farmers and rural landowners is cruel – the timeframe for making submissions in relation to this legislation was very tight and was poorly advertised. The tax lumped on them is equivalent to 3% of the value of their land. On the other hand many large developers would appear to have been ‘successful’ in avoiding this tax provision, on significant proportions of their holdings. While the RZLT process was initiated before Christmas of last year, with the publication of the Draft Map on the 1st November 2022, many residents/ homeowners and landowners in, and contiguous to every village, town and city in Ireland, where their homes and lands have been zoned ‘Residential’ or ‘Mixed Use’ (where residential is permitted), are totally unaware that their homes, lands and other properties have been’ scoped’ for the purpose of this tax. This is particularly harsh for someone who perhaps is intent on using their land solely for agriculture or intends to will a site to their children in years to come”.
Deputy Tóibín continued: “Most people are unaware that they could have made a submission to have their property excluded before the before 1st January 2023. Those who were aware, and made such a submission to the Planning Authority, have only until 1st May 2023 to appeal that Authority’s decision regarding the scoping, if dissatisfied. Those who were never even aware of this new property tax have lost all opportunity to appeal to An Bord Pleanála. The process was very poorly advertised and there was a near complete lack of public consultation or education on this topic. Consequently, there is now a real risk of people losing their family lands, some of which have been in their family name for generations. In la display of laziness, the scoping maps for this tax have included practically all lands which are zoned ‘Residential’ in the local development plans, including lands on which houses, and estates are already built and development has already taken place. This approach is not fit for purpose as it does not identify specific, fully serviced lands / sites”.
“However, vacant lands and sites, which are zoned for residential use, plus all of the existing developed lands which are not being developed further are included, whether serviced or not. This scoping exercise has not identified where the logjam in housing land provision is occurring. This was supposed to be the focus of this scheme. It is extraordinary that the Government has not taken a more targeted approach to this issue. For many years local Planning Authorities have prepared ‘Housing Land Availability Surveys’ annually, which identified vacant and undeveloped lands zoned ‘Residential’. These surveys were returned to the Government’s Housing Department. They have not provided any explanation as to why they have not used and updated these surveys. The bureaucracy, legislation and guidelines surrounding this Tax initiative are ‘Kafkaesque’ in character, and well beyond the understanding and comprehension of the average citizen. It is so contradictory, nightmarishly complex, bizarre and illogical, that it beggars’ belief. While Aontú supports the phased planned releasing of serviced residentially zoned land into the building stream, the approach being pursued by this Government is both, in fact, clumsy and unworkable. This tax scheme was poorly conceived and poorly communicated. It is impractical and will be ineffective. It must be repealed and reconsidered. It is time to call a halt to this fiasco and go back to the drawing board. This Government must produce a scheme which is fit for purpose” concluded Deputy Toibín.