ICMSA say extension of farming reliefs “positive” but critical of continuing lack of action of farm income volatility
ICMSA said that the taxation measures pertaining to farming were generally positive and the Association’s President, Mr. Pat McCormack, said that the extension of both the Consanguinity and Stamp Duty Restructuring reliefs was positive and a recognition of the role that these measures played in restructuring and ensuring that our irreplaceable system of family farms was passed on to the next generation. Mr. McCormack also noted the that the increase in Self Employed Earned Income Credit by €150 up to €1,650 meant that that allowance had, finally, reached parity with PAYE and he welcomed the bridging of this discriminatory gap. He said that the increase in Farmer VAT Flat Rate Addition from 5.4% to 5.6% is also welcome. However, Mr. McCormack expressed disappointment said that the conviction that the Budget had brought to these reliefs and taxation measures was not applied on what he termed “the long-standing and utterly destructive” problem of excess income volatility and the lack of any meaningful Revenue-approved tool that would allow farmers to deposit money in ‘Good’ years that they could access in ‘Bad’ years and so ‘smooth-out’ the boom-bust cycles that were becoming more extreme in recent years. Mr. McCormack said that ICMSA had submitted a tried-and-tested Farm Management Deposit Scheme that would have operated and regulated by the Revenue and which met, exactly, the requirements for such a tax-complicit farmer scheme. It was “profoundly disappointing” said Mr. McCormack, that, yet again, the Government had not looked at this recurring problem with the necessary degree of confidence and commitment.
On the funding of farm schemes, Mr. McCormack welcomed the increased allocation for the Department of Agriculture, food & Marine including the extension of schemes such as GLAS and ANC and said that it is essential that TAMS is also extended. He also welcomed the commitment to introduce new environmental measures to support environmental beneficial actions by farmers not currently in agri environmental schemes which he described as another positive.
The ICMSA President concluded by saying that while the farming and agri-food sector accepted and agreed with the measures introduced to deal with and get past the present pandemic, “Covid was for the present and Brexit was forever” and greater clarity is required in relation to what supports will be available for primary producers in the event of a no deal Brexit.
The Government must not, stated Mr. McCormack, allow their focus to slip from the Multi-Billion Euro threat to our farming and food sectors that a disorganised and disruptive Brexit represented.
Ends. 13 October 2020
Pat McCormack, 087-7608958
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office
+353 (0)61 314532
ICMSA Head Office
John Feely House