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Bryan hits out at 'pay and file' deadline proposals

Proposals in the Finance Bill to bring forward the 'pay and file' deadline for self-employed income tax and capital gains tax to September 30 has been slammed by IFA president John Bryan.

The farm leader said the move would result in severe cashflow problems on farms as farmers would not have received their single farm payment (SFP) by the new deadline date and would struggle to meet their tax commitments as a consequence. Under existing regulations, the deadline for self-employed income tax payments is at the end of October and the IFA has called for this date to be retained.

"At a time when farm businesses are facing credit restrictions and cashflow difficulties because of the banking crisis, this measure will create more financial pressure. This proposal should be removed from the Finance Bill," Mr Bryan said.

Although the SFP is not fully paid until December each year, a 50pc advance is traditionally approved by the Commission and is paid out in the third week of October.

Since the Commission cannot make interim payments any earlier, the IFA claimed that changing the tax filing deadline would be counterproductive and cause unnecessary hardship.

This view was shared by Tralee-based farm consultant Eddie McQuinn, who agreed that the changes would cause real pain. However, he said they had at least been flagged well in advance of being introduced.

"Farmers will have to start planning their cashflow early this year in order to have funds in place to pay their tax. That is going to be particularly difficult this autumn since the returns are for 2010, which was a good year," Mr McQuinn said.

Mr Bryan expressed disappointment that the Finance Bill did not include provisions to extend Stamp Duty Relief for farm consolidation past its existing deadline of June 30.

"Relief from stamp duty for farm consolidation provides an important incentive for farmers to improve the structure and efficiency of their farms," Mr Bryan claimed.

"This is particularly relevant in the context of the growth and expansion targets set out in Food Harvest 2020. The present relief must either be extended or there must be a significant reduction in stamp duty rates for agricultural land."

The IFA leader also questioned the decision not to extend the Mineral Oil Tax Relief (MOTR) for biofuels.

"Government must now underwrite the value of certificates for indigenous producers, to give certainty and support the development of the domestic industry," he added.

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