According to Finance Minister Pascal Donohoe, a preliminary analysis of local property tax (LPT) returns by revenue commissioners shows that the number of vacant residential units across the country is “low”.
E said he and his department would have to thoroughly assess the figures before returning them to the government with proposals for a vacant property tax.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien recently insisted that the government introduce a vacant property tax in Budget 2023.
A commitment to tax was given by the government in the Housing for All scheme.
“It’s important to get real control over what the level of vacancies are,” Mr O’Brien told Newstalk last month.
It is estimated that there are around 137,000 vacant residential properties across the country.
Mr Donohoe was questioned last week by Sinn Féin finance spokesman Piers Doherty about the tax and whether the government would introduce it in an upcoming finance bill. Mr Donohoe said the timetable for delivery of the tax measure under the Housing for All policy is the second quarter of 2022.
He said that the revenue has been able to collect data through LPT returns in respect of properties, such as their occupancy status, how long they have been vacant and the reason for the same.
“This information, along with information from other available sources, will be used to assess the merits and impact of introducing a vacant property tax.
“It is important to have a good understanding of the amounts, locations and characteristics of long-term vacant properties in consideration of such a tax case,” Mr. Donohoe said.
“Revenue has completed the preliminary analysis of the LPT returns received so far, which have been shared with my department.
“Preliminary analysis results show that the level of vacancies is low in all counties.
“I will consider this issue in consultation with colleagues before returning it to the government with proposals on an appropriate response. I understand that the Revenue LPT intends to publish in due course a profile of the occupancy data from the returns.
He said addressing vacancy and negligence, and maximizing the use of existing housing stock, is the government’s “priority objective”.