I have called on the Government to immediately confirm that the Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) does not apply to land that is being used for farming purposes. The imposition of the tax on the family farms is an unjust financial burden on farm families.

“I have been contacted by many farmers and their families who are worried farm families will be forced to sell land that has been in their family for generations and in many cases, is unlikely to be developed.”

“The Residential Zoned Land Tax will be an annual tax, calculated at 3% of the market value of land within its scope and will apply from 2024 onwards. While Revenue have stated that certain properties are excluded from the tax and that landowners can appeal the decision if their lands are included. However, this is not an acceptable process, and it is putting the burden of proof onto the farmer”.

Farm families will potentially be paying tax on land based on a value that they will not benefit from as the land will not be used for residential purposes. The exclusion of properties that that currently liable for the local property tax is a sound policy but the same does not hold through for farmers who are making an active living farming their land but just happens to be in a zoned area.

Land that is being used as part of a functional farm holding should be excluded from this tax. A farmer must be exempt if they can demonstrate that they have been actively farming the land and have records to prove this through the grants they receive for the Department of Agriculture such as the Basic Income Support for Sustainability (BISS). The Department of Agriculture have a record of farmers who say they are actively farming.

This tax is aimed at property developers who are hoarding the land to make a profit but imposing the same tax on farmers who are farming land for generations and dependent on that land for income and there is no justification for this situation to arise.