14th October 2014
ICSA president Patrick Kent has welcomed measures outlined in Budget 2015 which will encourage long-term leasing and support land mobility to progressive farmers, but he said that the agri-taxation review has not gone far enough to support collaborative farming arrangements.
“The 50% increase in income tax exemption for long-term leases and greater flexibility is a positive move, as is extending the relief to farmers under 40 years old,” said Mr. Kent. “However more needs to be done to incentivise farm partnerships. The taxation incentives outlined here are geared towards leaving farming and leasing out to unconnected third parties.”
“”The extension of farm restructuring relief to cover whole farm disposals is also a positive move for those cases where there is an opportunity to buy a less fragmented holding, and this is something ICSA lobbied for in its agri-taxation submission. However, we are disappointed that there is no specific move to introduce a more explicit means of saving profits in a good year to make provision for a bad year.”
Mr. Kent also welcomed the general trend in reducing tax rates and bands for low and middle-income earners, and particularly the reduction in USC rates announced by Minister Noonan today. “The reductions in the 2% rate to 1.5% and the 4% rate to 3.5% are very welcome, and this will benefit many farm families. However, the USC was an emergency tax measure introduced to meet a particular need and it should now be phased out altogether,” he said.
“Income taxes are still going to account for substantially more of total government funding than when the recession began. The 2015 estimates are predicting an income tax take of €18.4 billion compared with some €13-13.5 billion in 2008/2009, so it is clear that the income tax burden remains severe on hard working families, notwithstanding a step in the right direction in today’s budget.”
ICSA welcomes the commitment to provide funding for schemes such as GLAS, on farm investment and beef genomics in line with the proposed Rural Development Programme.
“Another welcome aspect of today’s Budget is the announcement of €12 million for a new once-off Farm Safety Scheme, and we look forward to examining the details of this in due course,” said president Patrick Kent.
“Regarding the Beef Genomics Scheme, the extra €20 on the first ten animals (€200) is welcome, but is hardly going to alleviate the losses suffered as a result of beef price cuts over the last 12 months. The extra €200 also pales into insignificance compared to the significant cuts imposed on many farms as a result of the unjust LPIS review.”
“With regard to TAMS funding, ICSA is concerned that the focus is too much on dairying. We welcome the support for sheep handling but we are concerned that money will have to be ring-fenced for cattle and sheep farmers over the 2015-2019 period rather than seeing it all hoovered up to pay for milking equipment.”