Budget 2014 farm lobby

As Budget 2014 approaches, the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has stressed the need for consolidation and the protection of farm schemes, and it is calling on additional measures to ease farm transfers.

President John Comer noted advancements in previous budgets regarding half-rate one per cent Stamp Duty for transfers to close relatives, the extension of the Young Trained Farmers Stamp Duty Relief to 31 December 2015 and the Capital Gains Tax Restructuring Relief. However he called on the measures to be built upon in Budget 2014 with many farmers gearing up to post-Quota 2015.

“For a start, the one per cent rate for transfers to close relatives due to expire at the end of 2014 must be extended to facilitate expansion and sensible succession planning. The Young Trained Farmer Relief requirement for 50 per cent of normal working time to be spent farming is difficult to establish and verify and should be changed to a five-year retention of ownership and use of land qualification. Budget 2013 provided for an increase in the rate of Capital Gains Tax to 33 per cent representing an increase of 65 per cent since 2008. ICMSA totally opposes any further increase and calls for the reintroduction of indexation that was withdrawn in 2002.”

In addition, he said the retention of 90 per cent agricultural relief for Capital Acquisition Tax is  essential to ensure transfer from one generation to the next.

“Farm families should be able to avail of the same tax relief for farm leases as non-related farm persons. The current tax code does not allow the same tax relief for land leases to related persons as non-family members, which is causing difficulties for farm families that wish to lease the farm to the next generation prior to retirement age,” he added.

Comer also referred to the National Farm Survey 2012, which showed family farm incomes fell by 15 per cent in that year. “The cuts to farm schemes contained in successive budgets have contributed to this fall and the fodder and consequent financial crisis experienced in 2013 should alert the minister to the requirement to fund fully the farm schemes on which so many families depend,” he concluded.

Discussions on Budget 2014 are currently under way.