Tax reliefs for investment in energy efficient equipment should be extended to sole-traders including farmers, according to the Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm Business Committee, Lorcan McCabe.

McCabe’s comments come as ICMSA says that climate change is now a major national and international issue that needs to be addressed at every level.

Of the 516,000 businesses registered in Ireland, some 60% are sole-traders with the vast majority of farms operating as sole-traders for tax purposes, according to ICMSA.

“These businesses, mainly family-run, are being totally excluded from a tax allowance for energy efficient equipment.”

The Chair of ICMSA’s Farm Business Committee cited this as yet another example of how sole-traders – including the vast majority of farmers – are discriminated against within the tax code despite the fact that they pay a substantially higher rate of tax than companies.

“Under the relevant relief, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has an Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) scheme for investment in energy efficient equipment that allows companies (paying Corporation Tax) to write-off the full cost of SEAI-approved energy efficient equipment against tax in the year of purchase.

“ICMSA believes that there are a number of equipment categories in the ACA scheme which have considerable potential for uptake in the farm sector and the association wants the matter dealt with in Budget 2017 by extending the ACA scheme for investment in energy efficient equipment to sole-traders.”

McCabe said that such a change would achieve two objectives: it would help Ireland to meet its challenging climate change commitments and, secondly, remove another inexplicable and blatant discrimination in the tax code that disadvantages sole-traders relative to companies.