Farmers need ‘vital’ stamp duty tax reliefs to be retained – ICMSA

The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) has called on the Government to retain two key farm tax reliefs that are due to expire at the end of 2020.

In a submission to the Department of Finance, the ICMSA said that Consanguinity Relief and Farm Consolidation Relief have been “hugely important for farm succession”.

A statement from the organisation read: “It is essential not only for rural Ireland and farm families, but also for the wider national economy that taxation reforms recognise the importance of the agricultural sector.

“Its importance is particularly recognised during periods of recession. We must also recognise the exposure of Irish agriculture to the negative impacts of Brexit.

Speaking specifically about Consanguinity Relief, the ICMSA said:

This relief is hugely important for farm succession. Many young trained farmers avail of the full stamp duty relief before they reach 35 years-of-age. It is important that the two reliefs work in conjunction with each other.

“Individual family situations vary. Some farmers are not in a position to inherit the farm as a young trained farmer; Consanguinity Relief allows them to inherit their ‘tools’ or assets at a time that suits the family…and not pay the full rate of stamp duty which currently stands at 7.5%.

“It is more important than ever that the rate of 1% is retained to allow a new entrant to enter farming without a significant stamp duty bill, which would hinder their future development.”

‘Vital for farmers that avail of it’

The ICMSA also noted that Farm Consolidation Relief is not used as often as other agricultural reliefs, but is vital for those farmers that do avail of it.

“Irish farms traditionally are fragmented. With many farmers trying to increase scale over the last number of years, this relief has been vital in terms of reducing inefficiencies on their farms.

Many farmers spend large parts of their days transporting cattle, slurry or fertiliser long distances. This relief means that farmers are not dis-incentivised from buying land closer to their ‘home’ block, which also has climate benefits.

“This is why it is vital to retain this relief and encourage the purchase of land closer to the farmer’s hub.”