Budget Measures a mixed bag for Macra

Budget Measures a mixed bag for Macra

A number of important agricultural reliefs which were due to expire at the end of 2023 have been extended to December 2028, a move welcomed by Macra.  

Elaine Houlihan, Macra National President, said that ‘the taxation measures relating to farming in the budget, including the consanguinity relief and accelerated capital allowances for farm safety equipment, are welcomed and provide recognition that a suite of measures, including taxation, that address generational renewal in Irish rural farming communities is vital in ensuring that our system of family farms is passed onto the next generation.”  

Increasing the lifetime threshold for young farmer reliefs under the EU Agricultural Block Exemption from €75,000 to €100,000 is a positive step forward for young farmers and better reflects the reality of modern farming, a point that Macra has continuously highlighted over the last number of years. Increasing land leasing tax reliefs to a minimum of 7 years, from 5 years improves land mobility for young farmers and the continuity of this important relief to provide certainty around access to land for activity farmers is welcome. Finally, to recognise the role of farm partnerships, the Minister will bring registered farm partnerships into line with EU regulations by increasing stock relief from €15,000 to €20,000.  

Houlihan went on to say that ‘while these reliefs provide important supports to our young farmers and the farming community more generally, more focused supports are required for young farmers’ 

Young farmers face many challenges such as access to land and finance, which is now compounded by changing climate, inflation and rising input costs as we move collectively to a more environmentally aware future. To increase the attractiveness of working in agriculture, we must look at different measures in a complementary way, such as taxation and incentives that enable land transfer. Generation renewal needs both the younger and older generation to work together, and Macra’s proposed pilot Succession Scheme specifically promotes and rewards intergeneration cooperation.

The Macra president expressed disappointment that the Budget has not addressed “the long-standing issue of rural decline and demographic imbalance within the farming community which is the backbone of rural Ireland.”