The Revenue Commissioners has confirmed that it will not appeal a High Court ruling relating to Kerry Co-op patronage shares.

In a statement to Agriland, Revenue outlined that it “will be dealing directly with the taxpayers involved regarding the implications”.

The decision brings closure to a longstanding issue between Revenue and Kerry Co-op.

Tax liability letter

In 2016, around 400 Kerry Co-op shareholders received letters from Revenue informing them of a possible tax liability.

This related to co-op patronage shares issued to them from 2011-2013.


It was Revenue’s position that the shares should be classed as additional trading income and, as such, be subject to income tax, USC and PRSI.

If this had been applied to Kerry Group’s 3,500 milk suppliers, it would have resulted in a collective multi-million euro tax bill.

Test case

The vast majority of those initially contacted by Revenue have been in limbo since 2016.

It is understood that some may have made payments to cover the tax demand, and a small number who did not pay were refused a state pension due to their tax affairs not being in order.

In 2017, Kerry Co-op brought a test case, involving one farmer, to the Tax Appeals Commission.

In 2020, the commission determined that the patronage shares should not be classed as income; a decision that was appealed by Revenue.

Last month, the High Court rejected that appeal; a written judgment in the case is still awaited.

A period of 28 days from the date of the judgment was available to Revenue to lodge an appeal of the High Court ruling to the Court of Appeal. However, it has decided against this.