Government introduces accelerated tax relief on farm safety equipment

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has today (Friday, November 27) confirmed that he is to bring a Report Stage Amendment to Finance Bill 2020 in order to introduce “accelerated capital allowances” for farm safety equipment.

There will be a particular emphasis on supporting those who have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of incidents on farms.

A large proportion of all fatal workplace incidents (50%) occur in the agriculture, fishing and forestry sector.

Between 2010 and 2019 there were 214 fatal incidents on farms. Of these, 65 involved a farm vehicle, 39 involved machinery and 39 involved livestock. These three areas accounted for 67% of all fatal incidents on farms.

In an effort to tackle this, Minister Donohoe is bringing forward a change to the capital allowance treatment of certain farm safety equipment, and adaptive equipment for farmers with disabilities.

It means that farmers will be able to offset the cost of equipment to modify machinery against their annual tax bill.

Currently, capital allowances are available at 12.5% per annum over eight years for agricultural equipment generally. The proposed new scheme will allow for accelerated capital allowances of 50% per annum over two years for certain eligible equipment.

This eligible equipment includes, for example, chemical storage cabinets and anti-backing gates, as well as adaptive equipment to assist farmers with disabilities.

The scheme will be administered by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Revenue.

An annual total equipment cost of €5 million per annum, excluding Value-Added Tax (VAT), for the measure will apply.

‘The aim this year is to get a scheme in place’

The Minister of State with responsibility for farm safety Martin Heydon said that having listened to those survivors and families impacted by farm accidents, he is determined that farmers who have suffered a life-changing injury are not left behind.

“With this proposal I want to support these farmers and help them get back to work. This is more than just about enabling people to get back to farming, but also about improving their physical and mental wellbeing.”

Speaking today, Minister Donohoe said: ‘This proposal underlines the priority afforded to the issue of farm safety in the government programme and reflects a commitment to make further progress early on in the government’s term of office.

The aim this year is to get a scheme in place and the measure will be kept under review during 2021 and beyond.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue said“This proposal reflects how the Department of Agriculture is working with all arms of the government to drive change in relation to safety behaviour, while supporting those farmers who have suffered serious injury.”

For the purposes of ensuring the €5 million (excluding VAT) total equipment cost per annum ceiling is not breached, the Department of Agriculture would issue a Farm Safety/Adaptation Accelerated Capital Allowance Certificate for submission to Revenue in support of such claims.

List of eligible equipment:
  • Hydraulic linkage arms mounted tractor jacking systems;
  • Big bag (equal to or greater than 500kg) lifter, with or without integral bag cutting system;
  • Chemical storage cabinets;
  • Animal anti-backing gate for use in cattle crush or race;
  • Quick hitch mechanism for rear and front three-point linkage to enable hitching of implements without need to descend from tractor;
  • Provision of access lift, hoist or integrated ramp to farm vehicle, including modified entry when required;
  • Wheelchair restraints;
  • Wheelchair docking station;
  • Modified controls to enable full hand operation of a farm vehicle;
  • Modified seating to enable operation of a farm vehicle;
  • Additional steps to farm vehicle or machinery to provide easier access;
  • Modified farm vehicle or machinery controls to enable control by hand or foot;
  • Hydraulically located lower three-point linkage arms.