Onus on co-ops to ensure bonus shares are tax compliant – ICMSA

The President of the ICMSA, John Comer has said that the onus is clearly on co-ops to ensure that bonus shares issued to farmers are tax compliant.

With the uncertainty surrounding the Revenue Commissioners’ position regarding bonus shares issued by co-ops, he said there is a clear responsibility on the co-ops that have such schemes to provide guidance to their member suppliers.

This guidance must be provided on the taxation status of such schemes, he said.

Comer added that over many years and in good faith, farmers had signed up to these schemes on the basis that they were thoroughly ‘vetted’, researched and tax compliant.

But, he said there is now a huge concern, that the farmer, through no fault of their own, find themselves with potentially significant tax bills.

This was an unacceptable situation and farmers needed – and were entitled to – assurance on those matters, he said.

Given that the Co-ops had designed and introduced these schemes, the onus was clearly on them to now provide clear guidance to their farmer-members on the position and their taxation status, he said.

Nor can the Government wash their hands on this matter, the ICMSA leader added.

There is also a clear onus on the Government to support schemes that develop and maintain the co-op ethos, which has been hugely important for the agri-food sector.

The Co-op model that had proved such a durable and vital component in the development in our agri-food sector had been founded and built on member loyalty and the taxation system was now going to be interpreted in a manner that threatened that vital connection then the Government would have to move to address it, he said.

John Comer, ICMSA President

Tax bombshell for hundreds of Kerry milk suppliers

Late last week, Agriland exclusively revealed that hundreds of Kerry milk suppliers could be facing major tax bombshells after receiving letters from the revenue.

The revenue wrote to some 400 Kerry suppliers notifying them of a tax demand on patronage shares in Kerry Co-op that had been issued to them during the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.

It is believed that the inferred tax liabilities range from €15,000 to €30,000 per share holder.