With the uncertainty surrounding the Revenue Commissioners’ position regarding Bonus/Loyalty/Patronage shares issued by Co-ops, there is a clear and pressing responsibility on the Co-ops that have such schemes in place to provide guidance to their member suppliers on the taxation status of such schemes, according to the ICMSA President, John Comer, who added that there is also a clear onus on the Government to support schemes that develop and maintain the Co-op ethos that has been hugely important in the Agri-food sector.
Mr. Comer said that over many years and in good faith, farmers had signed up to these schemes on the basis that they were thoroughly ‘vetted’, researched and tax compliant and there is now huge concern that farmer, through no fault of their own, find themselves with potentially significant tax bills. This was an unacceptable situation and farmers needed – and were entitled to – assurance on these matters. Given that the Co-ops had designed and introduced these schemes, the onus was clearly on them to now provide clear guidance to their farmer-members on the position and their taxation status.
Nor can the Government wash their hands on this matter, observed the ICMSA President. The Co-op model that had proved such a durable and vital component in the development in our agri-food sector had been founded and built on member loyalty and the taxation system was now going to be interpreted in a manner that threatened that vital connection then the Government would have to move to address it, said the ICMSA President.
Ends 1 December 2016.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office