Maximising tax incentives for brownfield development

Land Remediation Relief (LRR) can assist in making brownfield development financially viable. We were pleased to outline its benefits to Northern Ireland’s leading property developers and advisors during a Belfast lunch seminar on 1st February.

Entitled “Maximising tax incentives for Brownfield development,” the event featured talks by our Head of Geo-Environment, Michael Boyd, and Ben de Waal, Director of The Fiscal Incentives Group (TFI).

An introductory talk by Michael offered guidance on understanding the risks, constraints, and costs associated with brownfield sites, from the acquisition stage through to development. He lauded LRR as a crucial government incentive for providing the significant cash savings to spur brownfield development and investment. This, he argued, can help meet the NI Regional Development Strategy’s target of building 60 percent of homes within the existing urban footprint.

Qualifying costs for relief include remediation of contaminated land, removal of asbestos from buildings, breaking-out buried structures, treatment of harmful organisms, and naturally occurring contaminants, such as Japanese Knotweed, radon, and arsenic.

Ben outlined key eligibility criteria for claiming the tax relief, and the benefit of acquiring a major land interest before undertaking remediation works. A recent agreement with HMRC, for example, allows claims on certain abnormal foundation costs when building on geotechnically poor land affected by former industrial use. He also advocated for “tax intelligent procurement” to generate a more robust claim and ensure reports consider technical issues influencing tax relief claims.

The seminar ended with a Q&A session.

Michael stated, “We thank Ben and his team at TFI Group for this really engaging and commercial presentation. Having worked with TFI in England, we were keen to bring them to Belfast to share their experience in this specialist area. Together, we strive to help local developers and investors understand the risks and opportunities so they can maximize their return on sites locally.”

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