Some homeowners could face an annual council tax bill of up to £5,000 if they leave their property empty for more than a year, MSPs have heard.
Holyrood's Local Government Committee has approved legislation that would allow councils to double the council tax on empty properties and charge homeowners £500 if they try to hide their empty home from the council.
Housing minister Margaret Burgess is also considering making mortgage lenders liable for council tax on repossessed properties, rather than the debtor that has defaulted on their loan.
The SNP administration was accused of contradicting its manifesto pledge to freeze the council tax by Conservative local government spokeswoman Margaret Mitchell, who tried to have the legislation annulled.
MSPs voted along party lines to give local authorities the power to double council tax on empty homes, with four SNP MSPs outvoting Ms Mitchell and two Labour MSPs.
One SNP MSP raised concerns about the legislation's impact on families whose homes are left empty in unforeseen circumstances. Stuart McMillan told of a family whose renovation project had been delayed due to ill-health. Ms Burgess confirmed that this property would be treated as an "unoccupied dwelling" under the new law, and may be liable for a surcharge.
Councils will be given the discretion to decide whether to levy the surcharge and how much homeowners should pay up to a maximum of 100%, she said. Council tax varies between local authorities, from £682 a year for the cheapest properties in the Western Isles to £2,460 for the most expensive properties in Aberdeen.
An empty Band H property in Aberdeen could be liable for a council tax bill of £4,920 if the council levies the full surcharge and finds no cause for exemption.
Ms Burgess said: "This instrument will allow local authorities to impose a council tax increase of up to 100% for homes that have been empty for one year or longer. It will also allow councils to offer a discount of between 10% and 50% for homes that are unoccupied for between six months and a year.
"This increase won't apply to second homes. The regulations define a second home as a home that is not someone's main residence, but is furnished and unoccupied for a minimum of 25 days a year."