Agriculture – Budget 2017

October 28th, 2015 - Pat Breen

€25 m allocated for Animal Welfare Scheme for Sheep. It has been added to the Rural Development Programme which runs until 2020.

An adjustment to the farmers’ ‘Income Averaging’ system, allowing for an opt-out in an exceptional year has been introduced. This opt-out facility for exceptional years (once in a five-year period) allows farmers to pay on the basis of actual income instead of the average income. The additional liability is then paid over the following four years. This measure is being introduced immediately and will be available for the current year’s tax return and addresses the immediate cash flow concerns that many farmers have this year.

Consideration of an ‘Income Stabilisation’ measure, whereby some income can be deferred / saved in a period of high prices, to be drawn down in a period of lower prices. The Departments of Finance and Agriculture, Food and the Marine will engage further to consider potential ‘Income Stabilisation’ tools, whereby some income might be deferred in a period of high prices and drawn down in a period of lower prices, to see if these are possible for a future introduction.

The CGT Restructuring Relief has been renewed for a further three years

Changes to means testing for Farm Assist and Fish Assist. The means test will revert to the position which applied prior to Budget 2012 whereby 70% of income will be assessed as means as distinct from 100%.

Increase in the farmer’s VAT flat-rate addition. The farmer’s ‘flat-rate addition’ is being increased from 5.2% to 5.4% with effect from 1 January 2017.

Environmental agri-taxation measures
The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland’s (SEAI) accelerated capital allowance scheme has been extended to non-incorporated businesses. This will incentivise investment in energy efficient equipment by farmers and improving farmer participation in the scheme would strengthen Bord Bia’s marketing message of sustainable Irish agriculture production through its Origin Green Programme and its various Quality Assurance Schemes.