The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) is strongly opposed to the proposed changes to the current pay and file date.

“With future budgets scheduled for the earlier date of mid-October, the IFA are clear that the retention of the existing ‘pay and file’ date of October 31st for self-employed Income Tax is critical for the farming sector. As farmers, we receive the majority of our direct payments and a significant portion of our income stream during the month of October,” said IFA president John Byran.

“Bringing forward the date of payment will cause serious cashflow difficulties for farmers and businesses depending on payments. Ultimately, it would put at risk farmers capacity to comply with tax regulation.”

The Department of Finance has begun a process of consultation requesting submissions from relevant stakeholders in relation to “changes required to the Pay & File dates” which will be reflected in the final Finance Bill. The consultation sets out three options in relation to self-assessed income tax:

1. Moving the Pay & File date to 30 June;
2. Move the Pay & File date to September;
3. Move the Pay & File date to September, but introduce an arrangement to allow taxpayers to mandate from State payments such as the Single Farm Payment.

IFA farm business chairman Tom Doyle said: “None of the three proposals is workable for farmers. While future budgets are scheduled for October, the ‘pay and file’ date of October 31st for self-employed Income Tax, and the extended filing date for those who pay and file online, must be retained. The pay and file date must not be moved forward and there must be no mandating of farmer’s Single Farm Payment.

“The extreme weather of last winter, the depletion of feed stocks and resultant fodder crisis are a timely reminder of the importance of the SFP for cashflow, paying bills and ultimately filing tax returns. Farmers have a proven track record as tax compliant citizens and credit worthy customers. This must not be put in danger by a change to the Pay and file date.”

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