Saturday 20 October 2018

Ray of light as farms get solar panels break

Agriculture

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the initiative was subject to the panels covering no more than 200 solar farm planning applications.
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the initiative was subject to the panels covering no more than 200 solar farm planning applications.
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Leasing farmland for solar panels will be deemed a "qualifying activity" to encourage diversification and the drive for renewable energy sources.

Under the new scheme, this will be eligible for Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) relief.

Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the initiative was subject to the panels covering no more than 50pc of the total farm holding.

He said he believed the move would help support diversification of energy supply - and also tackle climate change.

Head of tax at IFAC accountants Declan McEvoy said that the move was of significant benefit for farming.

"Up to now, the lack of relief was holding back farmers from entering agreements," he said.

But he also warned many solar panel companies insisted on certain minimum guidelines.

Since June 2015, there has been more than 200 solar farm planning applications.

Patrick Kent, president of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association, said he welcomed the announcement, but lamented the fact there was no increase in the thresholds for Capital Acquisitions liability, which remains at €310,000 for category A, €32,500 for category B and €16,250 for category C.

As part of Budget 2018, some €36m has been allocated on expanding energy efficiency programmes in the public, commercial and residential sectors to help tackle climate change.

Irish Independent

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