Irish Gov't: Exempt Religious Orders From Crushing Land Tax
Religious orders of nuns, brothers and priests are generally unassuming and poor, living out lives of poverty in their convents and monasteries. They are simply not in the business of making money off land speculation.
But now, a new land tax (the Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT)), which is being used by An Bord Pleanála in an injudicious way against Irish religious orders, could potentially bankrupt Irish religious communities, forcing them to abandon their convents and monasteries.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition asking the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath, and his colleagues in Government, to act immediately and amend the law to EXEMPT Irish religious orders from the new tax.
If this all sounds like an exaggeration, it's not.
The RZLT imposes steep annual taxes - a 3% annual market value tax - on lands zoned by city and county councils as suitable for residential development, and there are significant penalties for non-compliance.
To illustrate what kind of money we're talking about, think about the following hypothetical situation:
Imagine that an order of nuns moved onto a plot of land in the early 20th Century, which was, at that time, well outside the confines of any city or town centre. Fastforward to 2023, and the city or town has grown up around the monastery, with the lands now being at a hypothetical value of €5,000,000.
Doing the maths, we know that 3% of €5,000,000 is €150,000. But, remember, that this is not a once-off tax, it's an ANNUAL tax. So, after only three years, that would be nearly Half-a-Million Euro!
Of course, property developers may have that kind of money to spare. However, religious orders - who don't run a money-making business - don't have that kind of money to spare.
Nevertheless, in what appears to be a case of heavy-handed government overreach, An Bord Pleanála just rejected an appeal to be exempted from the RZLT by an enclosed order of nuns.
Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition today and let common sense prevail!
Whereas the RZLT was designed to discourage the hoarding of land by developers when it was introduced as part of Finance Bill 2021, Irish religious orders are clearly not "hoarding" land to make money on speculation.
The fact that many orders have been continuously on their lands for many decades and in some cases more than a century - and, intend to stay on it in perpetuity - should enter into An Bord Pleanála's decision regarding Irish religious orders. But, apparently, it will not.
So, now it's up to Dáil Éireann to intervene on behalf of Irish religious orders, and clarify, in law, that orders occupying lands, which have been deemed to be "residential lands" by their local city or county councils, should be exempt from the RZLT.
Because the RZLT came into being as a result of the Finance Bill 2021, the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath is at the top of the list of government officials we're urgently asking to intervene.
If he and his colleagues in government don't act quickly, religious orders in Ireland could be bankrupted and, or, forced from their convents and monasteries.
It is crucial to recognize the unintended consequences of this legislation and take immediate steps to carve out a common sense exemption for cases like these.
May common sense and common decency prevail!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Carmelite nuns fail to obtain exemption to new land hoarding tax for Dublin monastery - https://www.thejournal.ie/carmelite-nuns-land-hoarding-tax-6207370-Oct2023/
From the Revenue Commissioners - Residential Zoned Land Tax (RZLT) - https://www.revenue.ie/en/property/residential-zoned-land/index.aspx
‘Totally wrong’ tax on religious orders could seriously impact their way of life - https://www.irishcatholic.com/totally-wrong-tax-on-religious-orders-could-seriously-impact-their-way-of-life/
New tax will target religious orders - https://ionainstitute.ie/news-roundup/new-tax-will-target-religious-orders/
DCU among landowners to challenge eligibility for new ‘land-hoarding tax’ - https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/dcu-among-landowners-to-challenge-eligibility-for-new-land-hoarding-tax/a2075482630.html