Revenue claim they are owed millions from Kerry shareholders
Hundreds of Kerry milk suppliers have received Revenue letters demanding the payment of tax arrears on shares farmers received for their loyalty to the global dairy giant.
The Revenue Commissioners are seeking income tax on part of the 600,000 'patronage' shares issued by the co-op during the years 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Revenue have valued each share issued in 2011 at €65, €75 in 2012 and €90 in 2013.
The move has provoked outrage among Kerry suppliers, some of whom insist that they will contest the claims in court. The amounts involved are significant, with a supplier milking 80 cows and annually receiving a new co-op share per 1,000 gallons of milk supplied looking at an under-declaration of income of over €20,000.
At marginal tax rates, this could result in a tax liability of over €10,000.
"It is Revenue's position that [the shares] need to be included in accounts as additional trading income subject to income tax, USC and PRSI at the appropriate rates, based on their market value," states the letter.
It also points out that the farmers in question have 21 days to respond to the letter in order to "minimise potential penalties together with avoiding publication and prosecution".
Revenue were unavailable to comment on why they were focusing on the years 2011-2013 when the patronage scheme started in 2000.