Farm Ireland

Sunday 21 January 2018

Macra slams idea of Stock Relief cut

Gowing says tax measure must be renewed if the Food Harvest 2020 targets are to be realised

Declan O'Brien

Declan O'Brien

Macra na Feirme has slammed suggestions from Department of Finance officials that Stock Relief for young trained farmers might not be renewed in today's Budget.

It is feared that the key measure may be one of the cuts targeted today by Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan.

Macra national president Michael Gowing said the 100pc Young Trained Farmer Stock Relief must be renewed in the Budget as it is a very important low-cost incentive that facilitates young farmers to build up livestock and grow their business.

Mr Gowing slammed suggestions emanating from the Department of Finance that Stock Relief could not be justified. "These suggestions don't stand up, the relief is fully justified if Ireland is going to meet the targets of the Food Harvest 2020 report," Mr Gowing said.


"This relief must be renewed in December's budget if the Government is serious about agriculture contributing to economic recovery," he added.

"The 100pc stock relief for young trained farmers and the 25pc relief for all farmers costs a mere €2m annually, but it is a stimulus to get young farmers involved in agriculture and to expand their enterprises in the first four years. This is very much in line with the Government's Harvest 2020 report which is calling for an expansion in farming."

Mr Gowing said it was not consistent for the Government to talk of cutting Stock Relief when growing exports was a key element in their plans for economic recovery.

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"Agriculture can strive to achieve the target of a 42pc increase in exports to €12bn by 2020, but the Minster for Finance must realise that agriculture needs reliefs such as Stock Relief to make this a reality," the Macra president said.

The Macra stance was backed by IFA president John Bryan.

"The existing general 25pc stock relief and the special 100pc relief for young trained farmers provide an important income tax incentive for business expansion, particularly for farmers at the start of their career," he said.

"It is these farmers who will contribute to the achievement of the Food Harvest 2020 targets, and generate net export earnings for the Irish economy."

Mr Bryan said the Budget must provide sufficient funding for all farm schemes, and ensure that the taxation reliefs that facilitate restructuring and expansion of the sector were maintained.


"As a priority, the AEOS scheme must be extended for all farmers leaving REPS3 and funding for the Suckler Cow Welfare Scheme, Disadvantaged Areas, forestry and other payments must be fully retained," Mr Bryan said.

On taxation, Mr Bryan called for the retention of key taxation reliefs which helped to encourage structural reform and competitiveness in the sector.

"These include capital gains retirement relief and agricultural relief for farm transfer, stamp-duty relief, stock relief and capital allowances to promote investment.

"These reliefs must be retained in Budget 2011, as any reduction would disincentivise farm transfer, investment and consolidation, and place a devastating tax burden on farm families," he said.

Meanwhile, Seamus Boland of Irish Rural Link warned that low earners would be hardest hit by proposals to double the carbon tax.

Irish Independent