Dublin city developers fail in all appeals against new land hoarding tax

An Bord Pleanála dismisses appeals for sites to be excluded from Residential Zoned Land Tax

Dublin city developers and landowners have lost every appeal against the new land hoarding tax so far determined by An Bord Pleanála, new figures show.

Owners of almost 50 sites in the city have failed in their bids to have lands excluded from the new Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT), charged at 3 per cent of the market value of the lands. The tax was due to be levied for the first time next February, but was postponed for a year by Minister for Finance Michael McGrath in Budget 2024 this week.

Prominent sites which the board determined are liable for the tax include parts of the O’Connell Street/Moore Street redevelopment lands owned by UK property group Hammerson, former RTÉ lands owned by Cairn Homes in Dublin 4, and two sites owned by DCU.

Landowners had until September 1st to lodge appeals with the board against local authorities’ decisions to include their sites on the county’s RZLT maps.


Across the country, 644 appeals were lodged and by budget day the board had made decisions in relation to 459 cases. In more than 75 per cent of appeals, the board upheld the decision of the local authority.

However, in Dublin city and county landowners have had even less success in escaping the tax with 90 per cent of appeals against the decisions of the four local authorities dismissed by the board.

To date, none of the challenges to RZLT decisions made by Dublin City Council have been successful. The owners of 67 sites appealed their inclusion on the city maps and the board has so far made decisions in relation to 50, confirming the council’s decision in relation to 49, with one appeal declared invalid because the site was not actually on the map.

The largest number of appeals was in Fingal where 84 landowners challenged the council’s decisions. The board has made determinations in relation to 79 of these, dismissing 67 appeals, granting 10, making a split decision in one case where the extent of land covered by the tax will be reduced, and declaring one appeal invalid. Appeals dismissed in Fingal include sites owned by the IDA and developers Cairn Homes and Castlethorn.

In the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area 32 appeals were lodged with 14 so far determined. The board granted one appeal, in relation to the site of the long-derelict Sentinel tower, which has recently secured permission for completion. However, the remaining 13 owners were unsuccessful, including the Central Bank which sought to have lands at the Currency Centre in Sandyford excluded on the grounds they were “essential for security of the existing facility” and had been excluded from the Vacant Sites Levy, which the new tax replaces. However, the board determined the lands meet the criteria for the tax.

Of the four local authorities, South Dublin County Council had the lowest number of appeals, with 13 landowners challenging inclusion on the RZLT maps. The board has so far made decisions in relation to six, dismissing four appeals, granting one, and declaring one invalid.

The majority of the challenges (296) were made by landowners in Leinster, with one-third of these in Dublin. Munster had the next largest number of appeals at 222, followed by Connaught at 67 and Ulster at 59.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times