Sinn Féin has said that agricultural contractors deserve action from the government on a review of their tax status in relation to the carbon tax.
The party’s spokesperson on agriculture, Matt Carthy said that contractors were first promised a review of their status regarding a fuel rebate in 2019.
However, he said this has been delayed on a number of occasions.
In response to a recent parliamentary question posed by Deputy Carthy, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe signaled that a review would be completed in advance of Budget 2023.
“The simple facts of the matter are that farm contractors carry out the exact same work as farmers, and the refusal of government to commit to reform simply results in these charges being passed on to their farming customers,” Carthy said.
“It has been incredibly frustrating to see the Minister for Finance repeatedly delay this review.
“It is yet another example of the challenges facing those involved in Irish agriculture today being compounded by the lethargic attitude of this government towards resolving long-standing inconsistencies,” the Sinn Féin TD claimed.
“Currently, farmers can avail of a rebate on the carbon tax if their income is sufficient. However, the same provision is not in place for farm contractors despite the fact that they are carrying out agriculture work.
“Contractors have no choice but to pass on the charge to their customers – effectively making it an additional cost to farmers.
“It is particularly galling that in the most recent response to a parliamentary question the Minister for Finance has said that he must ensure that tax measures are aligned with ‘the need to meet our Climate Action Plan’,” he continued.
“Would the Minister believe it to be more beneficial if every single small-to-medium-sized farmer in the state set about purchasing a personal fleet of agricultural machinery?” Carthy questioned.
“That would seem wasteful to me, as opposed to the current framework whereby farm contractors fill that gap and ensure that each piece of individual machinery is used to the maximum.
“That we would penalise both farmers and farm contractors for this type of approach is beyond belief and makes no sense from the perspective of meeting our climate obligations.
“The Minister has confirmed he intends to complete the review exercise prior to the budget, though will not commit to bringing forward measures in the budget arising from that review.
“There can be no further delays. During a period of escalating input costs, farmers need support. One such support must be through a rebate of the carbon tax for those doing essential agriculture work for which there is no fuel alternative yet,” the Sinn Féin agriculture spokesperson concluded.