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  • Budget 2017

    An Overview For Farmers

    There are quite a few changes to tax measures and schemes for farmers in Tuesday’s Budget announcement.

    The minority Government has announced its first budget. Yet again, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan chose, as he has in all his budget speeches, to specifically itemise the measures for farming at the beginning of his address to the Dáil and the nation.

    Budget 2017 has delivered on a number of issues included on the wish list of farmer representative organisations. The IFA will be happy that its “opt-out” proposal for farmers on income averaging in a low-income year has been adopted.

    In contrast, the ICMSA is not happy that the crisis fund will not be paid straight out to dairy farmers, but will instead be used as leverage to create a €200m low interest loan fund for farmers.

    Taxation

    The “bad-year” provision for those on income averaging will allow farmers to step-out of averaging when incomes plummet, and only pay tax due on the earnings of the current year. This is immediately available.

    The tax credit for sole traders, introduced last year, has been increased by €400, and now stands at €950. It’s still €700 short of the equivalent PAYE credit.

    The flat-rate addition for farmers not registered for VAT is being increased from 5.2% to 5.4% with effect from 1 January 2017.

    CAT thresholds have been increased – up €30,000 to €310,000 for Category A (children and spouses), with 8% increases in other categories. Agricultural relief is unchanged at 90%.

    The facility to write off up to 100% of investment in energy efficient equipment, which could include bulk tanks and heating equipment, is extended to sole traders. Green diesel is unchanged.

    Payments under the new raised bog restoration incentive scheme to relevant owners and rights holders will be exempt from Capital Gains Tax.

    Schemes

    GLAS gets an increased budget, up €69m to €211m, enough to cater for an expected 50,000 applicants by 2017.

    The new €25m animal welfare scheme for sheep, agreed in the programme for Government, has been funded and will commence next year.

    The ANC disadvantaged scheme will have to wait for 12 months for the €25m increase in funding agreed in the programme for the Government.

    The Farm Assist scheme gets a fillip from Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar, with an extra 500 places (up to 3,100), restoration of child disregards, and a reduction in the assessed off-farm income from 100% to 70%.

    The Rural Social Scheme has also been improved, with a €5/week increase, and a further €3.30/week for adult dependants.

    We have more details on additional funding for the Department of Agriculture here.

    A fairer Fair Deal?

    In addition, we expect an announcement from Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar on the Fair Deal Scheme later on Tuesday, with a 50% relief on asset valuation.

    All in all, a decent day’s work.

    Most sides of the house will claim some credit for aspects of the Budget, with Fianna Fáil and independent TDs’ fingerprints apparent.

    With that in mind, this budget will surely be passed by the Dáil.