Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
The Department of Finance has the lead responsibility for introducing this tax measure. Legislation setting out the provisions relating to the tax measure are included in Finance Bill 2021, which concluded all stages in the Oireachtas this week.
The purpose of the proposed measure is to activate existing residential zonings where the land is serviced, but remains undeveloped. It is primarily intended to influence behaviour towards increased housing output, rather than to raise revenue.
The scope of the tax is based on lands zoned for housing development on statutory development plan or local area plan zoning maps (either solely or primarily for residential use, or for a mixture of uses that includes residential use), where such lands are ‘serviced’, in that they are able to connect to the necessary infrastructure to enable housing development and for which there is capacity available, with land subject to known issues relating to contamination or the presence of known archaeological or historic remains to be excluded. Social, recreational and community uses as well as infrastructure and utilities will be excluded from the scope of the tax.
The lands falling into scope, being, in the first instance, all land zoned as of 1 January 2022 and meeting criteria set out in the legislation, including with regard to servicing and taking into account any exclusions, must be identified by each local authority on ‘residential zoned land’ maps to be published in advance of the introduction of the measure on 1 February 2024.
Each local authority will be required to prepare and publish a map to indicate the land within the scope of the tax, with the final map to be published by 1 December 2023. In advance of this, it will be necessary to publish an initial draft map by 1 November 2022 to identify the land in question. Preparation of the map will involve consultation with infrastructure providers to provide a robust evidence base with regard to servicing, including capacity.
The timescales for the various stages of the process including provisions for appeal of inclusion of lands on the draft map are set out in the Finance Bill and will be clarified within Guidelines to be issued under Section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 in order to ensure the maps will be published and updated by each local authority by 1 December 2023, in advance of the measure coming into effect on 1 February 2024.
Once established, maps will be updated every year, to reflect any changes in zoning, development servicing status or other criteria which would bring land into or out of scope. Where any land comes into scope after 1 January 2022, such land would not be liable for the tax until 3 years later.
This measure will replace the Vacant Site Levy once the tax becomes operational on the 1 February 2024. My Department will bring forward separate transitionary legislation to repeal the vacant site levy arrangements and this will take account of lands that might otherwise fall out of the full scope of the Vacant Site Levy, that are currently subject to the Vacant Site Levy.