Creed lauds stamp duty amendments that ‘protect farm families’

Minister Michael Creed has welcomed the removal of the 67-year age limit on stamp duty consanguinity relief for inter-family farm transactions, announced in yesterday’s Finance Bill.

He has also praised the extension of the consanguinity relief measure for three more years.

The bill also outlines that a 2% stamp duty rate will still apply for those who signed contracts on the sale of commercial, non-residential (including agricultural) land, before midnight on budget day (October 10). They will not be levied with the budgetary increased rate of 6%, as previously feared.

However, purchasers with binding contracts in place before this date must ensure that the “instruments for the transfers” are executed before January 1 2018, in order to avail of the lower rate.

Speaking after the publication of the Finance Bill, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine said: I am pleased at this announcement by Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, that the 1% rate for transactions relating to the family farm has been retained and that the age limit for the transferor has been lifted.

Coupled with the existing stamp duty relief for Young Trained Farmers, which is a complete relief from stamp duty, it means that lifetime transfers of land within families, whether by gift or sale, are strongly protected.

The measures follow detailed engagement between officials of both departments.

“I also welcome the announcement by Minister Donohoe that officials from both our departments will meet to assess progress on the “Agri-Tax Review”, which was published in Budget 2015, and especially to consider the issue of income stabilisation.

“Assisting succession, and the inter-generational transfer of family farms, has been a central part of the Government’s agri-taxation policy, and recent budgets have included a number of measures to maintain, and strengthen, that support,” he said.

Other supports

Last June, Minister Creed launched the Succession Farm Partnership Scheme, which provides for a €25,000 tax credit over five years to assist with the transfers of farms within a partnership structure, promoting and supporting the earlier inter-generational transfer of family farms.

“In co-operation with my colleague the Minister for Finance, I look forward to maintaining the support to agriculture and to farming families through the taxation system, which has been estimated at some €350 million per annum,” he added.

Minister Creed also welcomed other measures confirmed with the publication of the Finance Bill including: the promotion of solar panel use, the continuation of supports for entrepreneurship, and the new “keep initiative” to help small employers attract and retain key employees.