MSPs will be urged to ban tropical tax dodgers from owning chunks of Scotland this week, as the government’s Land Reform Bill faces its latest parliamentary hurdle.

The Scottish Greens will press for land ownership to be restricted to legal entities registered inside the European Union in a bid to exclude tax havens and improve transparency.

An estimated 750,000 acres of land in Scotland are owned by secretive companies and trusts based in tax havens such as the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

They include parts of a failed waterfront development in Edinburgh which were sold in 2012 to Sapphire Land Ltd, a company registered at a PO Box in the British Virgin Islands.

As the BVI is designated a “secrecy jurisdiction”, the company’s owners remain unknown.

A public consultation last year on whether the registration of Scottish land ought to be restricted to EU entities attracted overwhelming support.

In December, Holyrood’s cross-party Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee also backed the idea.

However last week SNP ministers rejected the plan, arguing it could breach EU law on the free movement of capital, could prompt landowners to use ever complex structures to conceal ownership, and noted some EU countries such as Luxembourg were also seen as tax havens.

The government said the change would not achieve the desired aim of more transparency.

The Greens will now try to make the change by amending the Land Reform Bill at its second parliamentary stage at the Rural Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

Later this month, the Greens will also try to amend the Bill to include a requirement that Scotland’s 27,000 acres of derelict land be taxed to raise £300m a year for housebuilding.

Andy Wightman, the party’s land reform spokesman and Lothians list candidate, said: “Improving transparency is vital to understanding who benefits from our land. The government’s refusal to include an EU registration clause in the Bill is deeply disappointing.

“Our amendment would put a stop to all further landownership by secretive companies in tax havens. By confining ownership to EU-registered companies we can ensure that moves being made in Europe to tackle laundering and secrecy are much more effective since, to date, many secrecy jurisdictions have refused to co-operate. That has to be better than the status quo.”

Referring to the plan to tax vacant land, he added: “There's a housing crisis in Scotland. It's not right that developers holding land that could be used for houses aren't required to pay any tax on it.

“By amending the Bill, Scotland can tax owners of derelict land, encourage productive use of that land, and bring in much-needed revenue for housebuilding.

“Scotland can unlock the huge potential in our land but we need Holyrood to be bold."

Around half of Scotland’s private land is owned by just 432 people.

Published last June, the government’s Land Reform Bill is designed to widen ownership.

Proposals include ending tax relief for shooting estates, forcing the sale of land if owners are blocking economic development, steps to ensure land is used in the public interest, helping more community buyouts, greater transparency on ownership, and improving deer management, common good land, and the right to roam.

Ministers want to double the amount of community land to 1m acres by 2020.

However the Bill has been widely criticised for not being radical enough.

At the SNP conference in October, activists rebelled against the leadership to demand the legislation be improved, warning the original goals had been “watered down”.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Our proposal for a public register is a much better approach to improving the transparency of land ownership in Scotland, as restricting ownership to EU legal entities would be easy to circumvent and will not allow communities or individuals to establish the name of an individual with control over the land.

“More work is required on the complex legal issues involved with a public register of who controls land, such as what information should be disclosed and how to protect privacy.”