More farms may be spared stamp duty hike after backlash
The scope of exemptions available for farmers to avoid the new 6pc stamp duty on land sales could be widened to ease the backlash to the Budget measure, the Irish Independent has learned.
However, the vast majority of buyers of land sold on the open market will now be facing a stamp duty bill of 6pc, up from 2pc before the Budget.
Officials in the departments of Agriculture and Finance are considering changes to the rules which allow inter-family sales to avoid the tax if the seller is 67 years old or younger.
It is understood the age could be raised - but at the same time Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has confirmed that he was fully aware when writing the Budget of the affect of the tax change on farmers.
Agriculture Minister Michael Creed was caught off guard, and initially claimed the 6pc rate of commercial stamp duty "does not apply to agricultural land".
However, he has now been definitively contradicted by Mr Donohoe, who told the Irish Independent there should never have been any confusion about the issue. "I was very much aware of the definition of non-residential commercial property and everything that is included in it," he said.
Mr Donohoe said he purposely referenced the young trained farmers' relief scheme which exempts purchasers under 35 from normal stamp duty and the consanguinity rate of 1pc.
"I am, of course, aware of the concerns of people who represent farmers. What I have to do is point to the broader context of where we are.