Farm taxation set for major reform

Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.

Martin Ryan

A MAJOR revamp of the farmer taxation regime will be outlined by Government in next month's Budget.

The changes are billed as the most comprehensive reform of farm taxation in decades and officials describe the proposals as a "very significant" and "progressive".

The measures will reflect the findings arising from a comprehensive review of farmer taxation schemes which has been carried out during the past year by a team of experts drawn from the Department of Finance and the Department of Agriculture.

Confirming the Government intention to introduce the reform in Budget 2015, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney remained tight-lipped on the specifics of the plans.

He was speaking to journalists at the launch of the Dairygold €88.5m regeneration of its milk processing at Mallow on Friday. He indicated that the scale of benefits to the sector would be maintained but that the focus would change to take account of the "modern challenges of agriculture and the modern responsibilities" facing the industry.

It is understood some of the primary areas of change will include more emphasis on incentives for longer term leasing of land and measures to encourage greater access to land for young farmers.

It is also envisaged that actions which address climate change and bio-diversity will be targeted, with the minister insisting that such measures would be "promoted and encouraged through a progressive taxation system."

There is speculation that the tax package will include incentives for farmers who commit to increase production over the next five years to ensure that Food Harvest 2020 targets are met.

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Assurances have already been given to farm organisations that the outcome of the review with be revenue neutral.

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