The map for the RZLT - Residential Zoned Land Tax - is available on the county council website.

Only one RZLT submission so far

Only one submission has been received since a map of more than 1,000 hectares of Westmeath land that are liable for a new Residential Zoned Land Tax went on display on November 1.

Submissions have to be in by January 1.

The 1,000-plus hectares of land zoned for residential development plus vacant or derelict houses and sites have been identified as liable for the 3% tax.

Residential properties on which Local Property Tax is paid are not liable, and owners do not have to make submissions to remove that type of property from the map.

Speaking at a Planning and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee meeting on Friday of last week, Cathaldus Hartin, senior planner with Westmeath County Council, said that the thrust of this new tax is to open up available land for development.

The tax rate applied is 3% of the value of the land and it is administered by Revenue.

Cllr Denis Leonard said it was long overdue as houses and lands were left vacant for years, people sitting on them with no intention of developing them.

The chairperson, Cllr Hazel Smyth, agreed that it would be an incentive to people to develop badly needed housing.

In reply to John McGrath, Mr Hartin confirmed that local authority land does come under the scope of the tax.