Less than 2% of taxes owed for vacant sites has yet to be collected

Derelict House Tinahely

Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore described the outstanding payments due from developers of over €400,000 for vacant site tax in Wicklow as “unacceptable”. This follows revelations that nationally, less than 2% of the money developers and property owners owe local county councils for leaving sites idle last year has been collected.

‘laissez-faire attitude of developers and land owners to paying their fair share of tax is very disappointing’ -Jennifer Whitmore

Deputy Whitmore said:

“While Wicklow County Council has accounted for the outstanding funds, it is unacceptable that €404,155 worth of vacant site payments from 2022 are outstanding. The lack of urgency in collecting this tax in Wicklow, and from so many other councils around the country, is very worrying. Government  introduced this tax to serve as an incentive to stop land hoarding.

“We can see now that it is not even being effectively collected. This laissez-faire attitude of developers and land owners to paying their fair share of tax is very disappointing and cannot be allowed to become standard. The lack of action from government to ensure its collection before now is in keeping with their policy of paying lip service to the issue of vacant properties and land hoarding. 

“The Residential Zoned Land Tax is due to replace the Vacant Sites levy next year. The charge will revert back to 3% and will be collected by revenue instead of local authorities. We in the Social Democrats called out the government at its introduction because we believed it was too low to be effective.

“We are also clearly in a situation where developers treat this tax as optional. If it were being meaningfully imposed and collected, we could see sites coming on stream nationwide. However, that is not materialising.”

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