Speaking directly after a meeting with the Dáil Committee on Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Lorcan McCabe, Chairperson of ICMSA’s Farm Business Committee, said that he welcomes the cross-party support for a number of the proposals put forward by ICMSA and said that this across-the-board support must now turn into real action through implementation of these proposals by Government.
“ICMSA’s submission focussed on two key areas: farm income volatility and land mobility. In relation to farm income volatility, we made two specific proposals, firstly, a farm deposit scheme where farmers can pay tax efficiently by saving surplus income generated in a good year that can be subsequently drawn down in a poor income year.”
He went on to say that ICMSA believes that such a scheme – with appropriate controls – can play a major role in assisting farm families through periods of reduced farm income. “Price volatility is now a fact of life for farmers with the milk price a prime example, where milk price has varied from 20c/L to 40c/L since 2009. If farm families are to survive this volatility, the taxation system needs to provide innovative ways that will allow farmers effectively save funds for the lean years.”
“In relation to the income averaging relief, we think, that farmers who work part-time should not be excluded from this relief going forward.” On land mobility, ICMSA put forward proposals in relation to Capital Gains Tax, Capital Acquisitions Tax and Stamp Duty to encourage the early transfer of farmland and in addition, the extension of the land leasing incentive to family leases. While Government may say – and may genuinely believe – that agriculture is full of opportunities, but if those opportunities are to be seized then the Farm Taxation Review must deliver a taxation regime that will allow farm families to go forward and survive through the periods ahead when all the indicators are that farm income will continue to be under pressure and subject to fluctuations,” he said.