Property Tax + Vacant Land Levy = Crap version of a Site Value Tax
In an attempt to encourage (I presume) the use of otherwise valuable and well-located land, the Government is proposing a new bill to create a ‘vacant land levy’. However, Local authorities, OPW and semi-states will be exempt, and these are the very people with quite a large amount of unused land in prime locations.
Local authorities will have the power to impose an annual levy of 3 per cent, rising to 6 per cent, on the market value of unused land if its owner does not take steps to develop a site in an area designated and zoned under a city or county development plan.
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly last month said all landowners who were leaving prime city and town centre sites dormant would be “treated the same”.
However, the heads of the planning Bill published by the Department of the Environment state the levy will only apply to the private sector and “the State, State agencies, semi-State bodies or local authorities” are exempt.
Anyway, that’s not even my issue here. Essentially, this is a band-aid on the Property Tax to encourage use of zoned land. In other words, as I said, the Government have created a crap version of a site value tax. Sigh.