Budget tax measures for farming ‘generally positive’ – ICMSA

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers’ Association (ICMSA) has said that the taxation measures pertaining to farming in Budget 2021 “were generally positive”.

The association’s president Pat McCormack said: “The extension of both the Consanguinity and Stamp Duty restructuring reliefs was positive and a recognition of the role that these measures played in restructuring and ensuring that our irreplaceable system of family farms was passed on to the next generation.”

McCormack also noted that the increase in Self Employed Earned Income Credit by €150 up to €1,650 meant that the allowance had finally reached parity with PAYE and he welcomed the “bridging of this discriminatory gap”.

He said that the increase in farmer VAT Flat Rate Addition from 5.4% to 5.6% is also welcome. 

Income volatility

However, the president expressed disappointment that the Budget had not addressed “the long-standing and utterly destructive” problem of “excess income volatility” and the “lack of any meaningful Revenue-approved tool” that would allow farmers to deposit money in ‘good’ years that they could access in ‘bad’ years.

McCormack said that ICMSA had submitted a tried-and-tested Farm Management Deposit Scheme that would have been operated and regulated by Revenue and which met the requirements for such a tax-complicit farmer scheme.

It was profoundly disappointing that, yet again, the government had not looked at this recurring problem with the necessary degree of confidence and commitment.

Farm schemes

On the funding of farm schemes, McCormack welcomed the increased allocation for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine including the extension of schemes such as GLAS (Green, Low Carbon, Agri Environment Scheme) and ANC (Areas of Natural Constraints).

He added that it is essential that TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme) is also extended.

The ICMSA has welcomed the commitment to introduce new environmental measures to support environmentally beneficial actions by farmers not currently in agri-environmental schemes.

The president concluded by saying that while the farming and agri-food sector accepted and agreed with the measures introduced to deal with and get past the present pandemic, “Covid was for the present and Brexit was forever”.

Greater clarity is required in relation to what supports will be available for primary producers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“The government must not allow their focus to slip from the multi-billion euro threat to our farming and food sectors that a disorganised and disruptive Brexit represented,” he concluded.