Teagasc officials are optimistic that changes in the make-up of the certificate in agriculture course will allow graduates to continue to qualify for the stamp duty exemption on farm transfers.
Details of the proposed changes to the course, commonly called the Green Cert, will be discussed at a meeting between Teagasc and the Department of Agriculture on Thursday. followed by discussions with Revenue whose approval will be required for continuance of the exemption.
Paddy Browne, head of education with Teagasc, said that the agency, in conjunction with the Department, would be making a case to Revenue for the inclusion of an additional course on the schedule of courses which qualify holders for stamp duty relief.
The current difficulties arose from a review of the Green Cert course, which determined that it did not meet the requirements for FETAC Level 6, which was necessary to qualify for the stamp duty exemption.
"Because of FETAC requirements in standardising Level 6 major awards, the current course will require some 300 hours additional course content," Mr Browne explained.
"This would incur greater difficulties on students and would have resource implications for Teagasc and other providers. Hence we are proposing a modified course which resembles the existing course," he added.
The proposed changes, once approved, should not involve additional cost on participating students, Mr Browne said.
Current holders of the Green Cert are not affected by the findings of the course review.