FG and FF under fire on stamp duty
The failure of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to support amendments to the Finance Bill which would have reduced the exposure of land buyers under the new stamp duty regime has been slammed by Roscommon-Galway TD, Michael Fitzmaurice.
Mr Fitzmaurice and fellow Independent TD, Mattie McGrath, proposed an amendment to the Finance Bill which would have resulted in a sliding scale of stamp duty charges.
The amendment proposed that a rate of 2pc would be charged on all land purchases up to the value of €300,000.
A rate of 4pc would apply on land transactions between €300,000 and €500,000, with a 6pc rate being charged on all deals in excess of €500,000.
However, the amendment was not supported by either Fine Gael or Fianna Fail.
In the recent Budget it was initially announced that stamp duty on sales of non-residential land would rise from 2pc to 6pc.
However, following a post-Budget backlash, the Government agreed to put exemptions in place for farmers.
Under the proposed rules, it will be possible for all gifts and sales of farmlands to close relations - who do not qualify for the 100pc exemption available under the Young Trained Farmer Scheme - to benefit from consanguinity relief at a stamp duty rate of 1pc.
In addition, all farmers under the age of 35 who buy agricultural land will continue to be exempt from the higher stamp duty rate.
However, Mr Fitzmaurice pointed out that the current proposals will still cost ordinary land buyers thousands of euro in extra stamp duty.
For a €150,000 land purchase, the stamp duty charge will rise from €3,000 to €9,000 - an increase of €6,000.
Meanwhile, a €300,000 purchase will incur an additional €12,000 charge.
"How are we supposed to encourage people to set up businesses or extend their family farms? It files in the face of normality and cop-on," Mr Fitzmaurice claimed.
"It is sad that, when it came to a vote, Fine Gael totally opposed our plan; and Fianna Fail, who are propping up the Government, abstained," he said.
Meanwhile, the ICMSA is renewing its call for the Central Bank to assist farmers whose loans have been acquired by vulture funds.
ICMSA president John Comer said it is "regrettable" and "not good enough" that the Central Bank hasn't issued a specific guidance document for farmers whose loans have been bought by vulture funds.
A spokesperson for the Central Bank told the Farming Independent that there are "a number of guides" on their website which are "applicable to farmers" which can help in the area of vulture funds.
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