Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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180. To ask the Minister for Finance if actively farmed farmland will be exempted from the residential zoned land tax; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13509/24]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) was introduced in Finance Act 2021 and seeks to increase housing supply by encouraging the activation of development on lands which are suitably zoned and appropriately serviced.

It aims to bring those lands which have benefitted from investment in services and are capable of being developed forward for housing. The tax is an action contained in Housing for All, the Government’s plan for housing, to increase housing supply and is supported in the Programme for Government.

The tax applies to land that is:

  • Zoned suitable for residential development whether it be solely or primarily for residential use, or for a mixture of uses, including residential use, and
  • Serviced; This means where it is reasonable to consider the land may have access, or be connected, to public infrastructure and facilities, including roads and footpaths, public lighting, foul sewer drainage, surface water drainage and water supply, necessary for dwellings to be developed and with sufficient service capacity available for such development.
In order to be liable for the tax the land must meet both criteria.

Each local authority in the State is responsible for the preparation of an RZLT map for their functional area. In preparing the draft RZLT maps each local authority determines whether the zoned land is connected or able to connect to the six required categories of services. Any exclusions which would rule the land out of scope were applied. Each local authority then published a draft RZLT map identifying the land which meets the requirements of the legislation and which may be liable to the tax.

It is important to note that, to come within the scope of RZLT, farmland must be both zoned for residential use and serviced. Farmland that is zoned for residential use, but which is not currently serviced, is not within the scope of the tax and will only come within the scope of the tax should the land become serviced at some point in the future.

Agricultural land which is zoned solely or primarily for residential use and meets the criteria set out within the legislation therefore falls within the scope of the tax. These zonings are considered to reflect the housing needs set out within the core strategy for the relevant local authority area and landowners within such zonings may fall within the scope of the tax, in the interests of ensuring an appropriate supply of housing on zoned lands.

As part of Budget 2024, it was decided to extend the liability date of the tax by one year, from February 2024 to February 2025. This is to allow for the annual mapping cycle to complete and afford landowners another opportunity to raise issues for the consideration of the local authority regarding particular matters which would preclude housing being developed on the land, which may result in the land not meeting the criteria for inclusion as set out in legislation.

The deferral provides a further opportunity to landowners, whose land appears on a draft revised final map published on 1 February 2024, to request re-zoning or to make a submission regarding land not meeting the criteria for inclusion on the map.

Landowners who wish to make a submission regarding land not meeting the criteria for inclusion will have until 1 April 2024 to make submissions to the relevant local authority. Landowners wishing to make submissions regarding land for which they wish to make a re-zoning request have until 31 May 2024 to make submissions to the relevant local authority.

Decisions on whether to amend zonings as a result of submissions or at any other time are a matter for each local authority, taking into account the need to ensure that housing supply targets across the county can be met. It is worth noting that provision is made in the Planning and Development Act 2000 for elected members to seek a report from their Chief Executive on the matter of proposed re-zonings.

Furthermore, Finance Bill 2022 introduced an exemption for land that is within the scope of the tax but is subject to a contract that precludes the landowner from developing it. For the exemption to apply, the contract must have been entered into prior to 1 January 2022, i.e., prior to the introduction of RZLT. For example, where a farmer leased land prior to 1 January 2022 and the requisite conditions are met, the farmer may claim an exemption from the tax for the period of the lease.

The Department of Finance regularly engages with both the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine on the implementation of the RZLT.

Further information regarding RZLT maps and the related submission processes are available on each local authority website, or at www.gov.ie/rzlt.


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