The Government must end confusion over the new residential zoned land tax and who it applies to due to concern and anger it is causing to members of the farming community, according to Fine Gael TD Michael Ring.
Deputy Ring reiterated the point that farmers must not be liable for the 3% tax and that they should be contacted by local authorities about de-zoning their land to ensure they do not receive a bill that could cost them tens of thousands of euro per year.
Deputy Ring said: “Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue has now confirmed through the media that farmers will not be exempt from the new Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) and that they will have to apply to get this land de-zoned in order to avoid being levied.
“This burdensome task has now been foisted on to farmers without any notice as they simply earn a living and are in no way sitting on vast swathes of land that could be used to build houses.
“We know there are delays and problems with some farmers looking to get their land de-zoned currently through the local authorities, and they are then subjected to more red tape and bureaucracy when the application goes to An Bord Pleanála and it is rejected.
“The whole process is bogged down in red tape and it is causing worry for members of the farming community, who need clarity on how they go about getting their land de-zoned in a timely manner before this tax comes into effect next year.
“Our farmers are extremely busy, diligent people out working the land – they are not developers and they shouldn’t be subjected to the minutia of the development and zoning of land, checking maps and where and what exclusions apply to them.
“Taoiseach Leo Varadkar gave an undertaking last week that he would work with his ministerial colleagues to fix this issue for farmers, and I will be ensuring that there is fair play and that the matter is sorted out.
“If there is no exemption forthcoming in the legislation, with the new tax collected by the Revenue Commissioners, then a solution could have to come from the Department of Housing to ensure that de-zoning application requests are prioritised and dealt with promptly,” Deputy Ring concluded.