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Vacant property tax plan 'under constant review' - McGrath

The Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath has said the issue of a vacant property tax is 'u...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.50 20 May 2021


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Vacant property tax plan 'unde...

Vacant property tax plan 'under constant review' - McGrath

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.50 20 May 2021


Share this article


The Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath has said the issue of a vacant property tax is 'under constant review'.

It comes after the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar raised the idea of a levy on vacant homes to tackle the housing crisis.

There are concerns about the large number of apartments lying vacant in Dublin and elsewhere.

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It comes as the Dáil approved a motion to increase the stamp duty on the bulk-buying of houses and duplexes to 10%.

The measures will apply to transactions of 10 houses or more, while Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien said the Government does intend to introduce proposals around apartments soon.

Minister McGrath told Newstalk Breakfast a vacant tax is one of the options they are considering, but not in the short-term.

"I think that there are many reasons why a residential property may be vacant, and this is an issue that was looked at less than three years ago by Indecon on behalf of the Department of Finance.

"And they recommended against the introduction of a vacant property tax at that time.

"There can be multiple reasons: sometimes the property is derelict and too expensive to renovate, sometimes the property is for sale, the owner could be in a nursing home, they might be abroad for work.

"So you would have very significant design challenges that respect people's Constitutional property right, but there is also the issue of the common good.

"And I do take the point that we could ask our local authorities to proactively examine the reasons why properties in individual areas are vacant, and to see what role the State can play in unblocking some of those blockages that are there".

He suggested any such approach would not be punitive.

"I think that the approach to date has been to help people, and to identify the reasons why particular properties might be vacant and to see if the State can assist in doing so.

"We've had tax incentives, for example, like the Living Cities Initiative and there are grants available in certain circumstances as well."

On any tax, he said: "That is complex and very challenging to do because of the range of reasons why a particular property might be vacant.

"It was looked at less than three years ago, it will of course be kept under constant review but there are no immediate plans to do so".

Main image: Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath speaking to media before entering Dublin Castle for a Cabinet meeting. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov / RollingMews.ie

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Leo Varadkar Living Cities Initiative Michael McGrath Newstalk Breakfast Public Expenditure Minister Vacant Property Tax

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