National and Devolved Politics

13.02.18

Landowners in Wales face tax in Welsh Government plans

A tax on vacant land could be introduced in Wales in plans to be announced today by the government.

The new tax would apply to land where permission to build has been granted (or land that is within a local development plan) but where no work has been carried out.

In October 2017, the Welsh government announced a shortlist of four possible taxes it was considering introducing as part of its new tax-raising powers, which will come into force in April.

These were taxes on vacant land or disposable plastics, a levy to support social care, or a tourism tax.

“A tax on vacant land could prevent the practice of land banking and land not being developed within the expected timescale,” said Mark Drakeford, cabinet secretary for finance.

“The Republic of Ireland vacant sites levy provides a useful starting point for how a vacant land tax could work in Wales.”

He also said the vacant land tax idea will be used to test the Wales Act powers, but that the government also hasn’t ruled out the tax on tourism.

The other three proposals are yet to be investigated and developed as taxation options.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We will be talking to stakeholders to understand the issues with vacant land and the role of taxation.”

As well as power to set up its own taxes, landfill tax and control over stamp duty will be devolved to Wales in April.

Stamp duty will be replaced with a new Land Transaction Tax.

Top image: National Assembly for Wales

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