The Welsh government has proposed a “Vacant Land Tax” (VLT) aimed at land where planning permission has been granted, or that is within a local development plan, but no work has been carried out. The objective is to incentivise companies to build rather than hoarding land to increase its value.

It is suggested that the VLT would follow a similar model introduced in the Republic of Ireland from January 2018, the vacant site levy. The Irish tax requires land owners to pay a charge of 3% of the market value of vacant sites if they have not been developed within 2018, with the rate rising to 7% in 2019.

More details will hopefully be published before the Welsh Assembly formally considers recommending the new tax to the UK Parliament.

VLT was the “winner” of four taxes shortlisted in the Welsh Budget in October 2017 as candidates to test Wales’ ability to introduce new taxes, following an informal poll on social media. The “losers”, which are still under consideration for future introduction, were:

  • Levy to fund social care
  • Tax on disposable plastics
  • Tourism tax (to be charged on holiday accommodation)