Sector granted €millions as families given €2 weekly water allowance.

Sligo News File Online.

Predictable changes in the farming were recognised in the Budget with a heavy emphasis on measures aimed at incentivising land transfer and leasing post the ending of the milk quota. Provision was also made for expected volatility with the range for income averaging increased from 3 to 5 years. There was the usual old political guff about the annual turnover and spread of the industry into every boreen of the country, but in the heel of the hunt the measures in the main benefit the larger holding. It’s not something which will come as any great surprise to farmers in Sligo and other counties of the west.

 The minister announced he was:

increasing the income tax exempt thresholds by 50% and introducing a new threshold for leases of 15 years and over;

allowing relief where the lessee is a company;

removing the current 40 years of age threshold for leasing relief;

 His other pronouncements included:

targeting Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT) relief for agricultural property to ensure it is used by active farmers;

broadening CGT retirement relief so that individuals can now lease out their land for up to 25 years prior to disposal and still be eligible for CGT retirement relief;

extending CGT retirement relief to land let under conacre, which is disposed of, or converted to long term leasing before the end of 2016;

extending stamp duty relief for non-residential land transfers between certain close relatives;

 removing stamp duty on agricultural leases in excess of 5 years;

extending CGT farm restructuring relief to the end of 2016 and broadening it to allow for restructuring through whole farm replacement.

Income averaging has been increased from 3 to 5 years, and extended to farmers who derive income from another trade or profession, if it relates to on-farm diversification.

Bloodstock and greyhound racing are to receive an ADDITIONAL €6 million a year to the existing fund for three years while further capital of €5 million is awarded to Horse Racing Ireland to leverage investment in race courses.

For those into microbreweries the annual excise relief production ceiling or limit is increased from 20,000 to 30,000 hectolitres.