Farm families will welcome new, updated guidance from the Revenue Commissioners that sets out the position on stamp duty exemption for the transfer of agricultural land to young farmers, according to a senator.

Senator Fiona O’Loughlin, who is Fianna Fail’s deputy leader in the Seanad, said she has received confirmation from the Minister for Finance, Micheal McGrath, that stamp duty relief will apply to a young farmer when they carry out farming activities “through a company or a partnership”.

Senator O’Loughlin said, “Recently in the Senate I raised the issue of the proposed change to the stamp duty exemption and how it could impact negatively on many farmers”.

“Heretofore, when a farm is transferred from one generation to the next and it has been incorporated into a limited company, there has been a stamp duty exemption scheme for young trained farmers, which encouraged that changeover to happen before the appointed successor was 35 years of age.”

However, she said revenue had recently amended this guidance and outlined that in order to qualify for stamp duty relief “the transferee must farm the land themselves and not through a company.”

Revenue had also stated that the relief was “not intended to apply where a farm is leased to a company or for companies to benefit from the relief.”

Senator O’Loughlin said this would have caused alarm for some farm families, who in recent years had opted to trade as companies, because they could then potentially have been excluded from benefiting from any stamp duty relief.

But the senator said that as a result of raising the issue in the Seanad she “engaged directly with the minister who she said “has acted to address the issue.”

New updated guidance from Revenue in relation to stamp duty exemption now states:

“Revenue accepts the requirement that the transferee spends at least 50% of his or her normal working time farming the transferred land may be satisfied where he or she carries out the farming activities through a company or a partnership”.

According to Senator O’Loughlin for the stamp relief to apply in the case of a company,” the individual must be the main shareholder and working director of the company and must farm the land on behalf of the company”.