Dramatic dash stamps out 35-year-old duty

Martin Ryan

The action of a quick-thinking lawyer and a 60-mile dash by car against the clock has saved a farmer €30,000 on the transfer of a farm.

The urgency of the situation emerged when a farmer came to Limerick-based solicitor David O'Brien to formalise a farm transfer.

"After just a few minutes I realised that the man was 34 years and 364 days and unless the transfer was completed that day he would have been liable for stamp duty," said Mr O'Brien.

"We had the deed drawn up and signed, but it had to be got to Cork by car to have it stamped before the close of business or it would not have been effective and the stamp duty would have to be paid," he told a seminar on inheritance and farm transfer at Adare.

Mr O'Brien told farmers at the IFA organised seminar, which attracted a capacity attendance at the Woodlands House Hotel, of the necessity to have the transfer of farmland completed before the transferee reaches 35 years to avoid stamp duty on the value of the property at up to 6pc.

He advised that it is also essential to ensure that the recipient of the farm qualifies for agricultural relief on the value of the property because of the impact this had on the amount of inheritance tax that would be due on any transfer.

Where off-farm investments involving property abroad, Mr O'Brien advised farmers to check with the laws in that country on transfer of the property.

Declan McEvoy, IFAC, farm accountants, said that farmers considering transfer should be aware of likely changes in the tax implications for farmers in forthcoming budgets.

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He said that if recommendations in the Commission on Taxation Report were acted upon by the Government the relief on agricultural land could be reduced by as much as 30pc on the current rate of 90pc.

The report also recommended that current income tax rates of 25pc be increased to as high as 35pc.

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