Stamp duty: Inter-family age limit to be abolished

All family farm transactions are to be protected from the much-publicised budgetary trebling of stamp duty from 2% to 6%, as the consanguinity age limit is to be removed.

AgriLand understands that the decision to abolish the upper age limit, of 67 years-of-age – that applies to consanguinity (inter-family) relief – will be reviewed again towards the end of 2020.

The decision, reached at a cabinet meeting this morning, means that fewer sales or transfers of farms would be levied with the 6% rate than had been previously feared.

It is believed that this amendment to the budget will be included in the Finance Bill, which is set to be published tomorrow.

Also Read: Full stamp duty roll-back ruled out; inter-family transfer age limit likely to be removed

It means more family farm transfers will qualify for the consanguinity relief rate of just 1%.

Further clarity on transitional provisions for contracts that were signed before the budgetary changes were announced last Tuesday will also be dealt with in the Finance Bill.

Documents seen by AgriLand confirm that, following further discussions with the Michael Creed, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Paschal Donohoe, the Minister for Finance, has “decided that the age rule for the consanguinity relief will be removed”.

On the recommendation of the minister Creed, minister Donohoe is also extended consanguinity relief for another 3 years and providing that the stamp duty rate applying under that scheme will be fixed at 1%.

“This means that it will be possible for all gifts and sales of farmlands to closely related family members, who do not qualify for the 100% exemption available under the Young Trained Farmer scheme, to benefit from consanguinity relief at a stamp duty rate of 1%.”

Until now, consanguinity relief was available to close family members provided that the transferor is aged 67 or under. In such cases, a stamp duty rate of 1% applies on transfers by gift or sale.

The stamp duty reliefs available to farmers purchasing land for agricultural use prior to the budget continue to be in place.

Farmers under 35 who qualify as ‘Young Trained Farmers’ are fully exempt from stamp duty on farm transfers by gift or sale.

These reliefs were intended to provide incentives to encourage earlier inter-generational farm transfer. There are also incentives in place to encourage long-term leasing of agricultural land.

Independent TD for Roscommon-Galway, Michael Fitzmaurice has welcomed the removal of the limit. However, the TD has said more must be done and has proposed an additional amendment to the bill.

Fitzmaurice wishes to put in place a rate of 2% which would apply to up to a value of €300,000, a rate of 4% to apply between €300,000 and €500,000 and a 6% rate to apply to land values above €500,000.

Fitzmaurice said: “This would help family farms but would make sure the vultures and the hoarders would have to pay. I think the future of small family farms are at great risk with proposals that exist at the moment after the budget.”