The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA) has confirmed with Agriland its Budget 2014 priorities.

The organisation’s General Secretary Eddie Punch said: The income tax exemption for long-term leases of  five years and upwards should be extended to allow leasing of land into incorporated companies and also to unrelated business partners, both of which would be highly supportive of collaborative farming structures. In addition, Stamp Duty consanguinity relief should be extended indefinitely.”

He added: Under farm restructuring relief, the sale and purchase of entire farms should be included and the relief should also be extended indefinitely rather than up to December 2015 only. The PAYE tax credit should be replaced with an earned tax credit which would end the discrimination against self-employed people and which currently costs self employed individuals up to €1650 extra income tax per annum.

ICSA is also calling for the Universal Social Charge to be reduced by 1%, and plans agreed for its eventual phasing out.  Eddie Punch continued:

“Stock relief should be increased to 50% for all farmers and retained at 100% for young farmers.  Moreover, the stock relief regime needs to be made more predictable and should be put in place for 10 years.

“ICSA submits that “rainy day” planning should be encouraged as an alternative to income averaging.  This would be facilitated by allowing an unincorporated farmer to invest a proportion of profits in a good year tax free into a special account, which could be accessed in future years to cover a bad year or for special investment projects on-farm.

With regard to future Rural Development Funding, ICSA is calling for measures to be put in ppace, which to facilitate a GLAS scheme for at least 30,000 farmers.

“Funding is also required to cover the beef genomic scheme at €80/cow with farm discussion groups and a TAMS programme to open with at least €30 million for the first phase. Full funding for the DAS scheme of €190 million will also be required,” Eddie Punch concluded.