Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) was introduced by Finance Act 2021 as part of the Government’s 'Housing for All - a New Housing Plan for Ireland'. RZLT is intended to act as a stimulus to induce residential development on land earmarked by local authorities as suitably serviced and zoned wholly or partly for residential purposes.
For land that is within the scope of RZLT, an annual 3% tax will apply based on the market value at the valuation date with the first RZLT charge payable in 2024 for land within scope on 1 January 2022. While there are a number of exclusions from RZLT, it will operate as a self-assessed tax which places filing and payments obligations on landowners. Where the land is zoned as suitable for residential development and/or serviced after 1 January 2022, tax will be first due in the third year after it comes within scope.
The primary objective of RZLT is not to increase the Government’s tax revenue but rather to aid Ireland’s housing shortage by encouraging the use of zoned land for development. However, due to the broad nature of the legislation, it may result in significant recurring tax filing requirements and potential tax liabilities for many landowners.
The persons liable to pay RZLT will be the “owners” of a “relevant site”. “Owners” is widely defined and includes any person who holds an interest or right to carry out development on or to the land. This may also include certain developers with contractual rights to develop such land.
A “relevant site” is determined to be land that has been identified in the relevant local authorities’ RZLT map and will be land that is zoned solely or primarily for residential use or a mixture of uses including residential. This land must also be:
Land that comes within the following categories are excluded from the scope of RZLT:
The RZLT legislation provides for surcharges and interest for non-compliance including late payment interest, failure to make timely returns and undervaluation of land. A penalty of €3,000 will apply where the landowner does not register for RZLT where required to do so.
In addition, unpaid RZLT and interest will accrue as a charge on the land.
There will also be RZLT clearance requirements where a liable person intends to sell land or there will be a change in ownership (e.g. a gift).
Landowners may have an option to abate, defer or seek repayments in certain circumstances (e.g. where residential development has commenced or planning permission granted is subject to an appeal).
Due to the broad drafting of the legislation and the limited exclusions, many land owners may unintentionally be caught in the RZLT’s self-assessed compliance requirements. Local authorities are responsible for drafting the RZLT maps that show the potentially affected landowners. The first drafts were released on 1 November 2022 and from a review of these, it is clear that many land owners will need to take action now.
There is currently a two-month period for taxpayers to prepare and submit an appeal against their current designation in the local authorities’ RZLT maps. Due to the tight turnaround for the first appeal deadline, 1 January 2023, and the fact it encompasses an uncertain Christmas period due to the ongoing energy crisis, it is strongly recommended for landowners to review the draft maps as soon as possible.
When appealing their designation, landowners will have to prove their ownership of the lands in their appeal submission. It is expected submissions will contain certain information as to why the landowner should not be included in a map, or information relating to the date the land falls into scope of the RZLT.
We strongly encourage impacted landowners to start to collate all relevant documentation for their application due to the short turnaround time in advance of the upcoming deadline.
For additional information, please contact a member of the Real Estate Tax Advisory team or any member of your Grant Thornton engagement team.