Not enough on ‘serious inequality with PAYE workers’ in Budget 2019

Budget 2019 has not sufficiently addressed “serious inequality” for farmers paying tax as self-employed workers, according to the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association’s (ICSA’s) president Patrick Kent.

The president made the comments following the announcement of Budget 2019 by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe earlier today (Tuesday, October 9), highlighting a number of issues he took exception to.

‘Inequality’

“The minor level of improvement on earned income tax credits and on the Category A thresholds for Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) represent at best a begrudging admission that they are worthwhile – and at worst a rowing back of the ambition set out in previous budgets.”

He also noted that the earned income tax credit was only increased by €200 to €1,350 last year.

According to Kent, the various reports on taxation have highlighted that there is “a serious inequality with PAYE workers who qualify for a credit of €1,650”.

“When Minister Noonan began the process of rectifying this blatant unfairness for self-employed workers, it was indicated that it would be done over three budgets – with an increase of €550 each time.

We are now looking at this process being dragged out over seven years. There is no justification for this.

“Similarly, the increase in the Group A threshold for CAT covering inheritances has to be seen in the context that the thresholds were cut severely in the past and there is an acceptance that the current level exposes many people to heavy tax burdens on taking over the family business,” he said.

Afforestation

Kent also highlighted afforestation funding in comparison to livestock farming supports.

“Many farmers would be amazed at the substantial increase in afforestation money compared to what is being directed at livestock farming in Budget 2019,” Kent said.

“There is a serious question over blanket sitka spruce plantations, both in terms of climate change and impact on rural communities.”