The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) are in their budget submission, seeking a full tax exemption for all payments farmers receive under the various environmental schemes.
In pressing the case for these exemptions, National President Vincent Roddy called “for all payments made to farmers under schemes such as ACRES and the new Eco-scheme to be disregarded for tax purposes.”
In seeking to deliver improved environmental outcomes we must he stated “recognise that there is a direct financial cost in delivering this and also a cost in terms of reduced output and income.
Costs and income loss such as these are, he added “already a consideration in forestry premium which is tax free. Beyond forestry, we must also recognise how tax free allowances are also a factor in other emergency situations such as the housing crisis where we see a tax free allowance on rental income of up to €14,000/year.
In May 2019 Dail Eireann declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. “With this declaration came promises of funding to help deliver the desired outcomes” added the INHFA President. “Unfortunately, some four years on, we see an under-funded Agri-environment scheme in ACRES and a re-direction of direct supports, to deliver improved environmental ambition through the Eco-scheme” stated Roddy
Clearly it is he continued “essential that additional funding is prioritised to support and recognise the costs and burden associated here. On this basis we are also seeking an annual payment of €300/ha in recognition of the financial burden associated with the SAC and SPA land designations. However, in providing a tax disregard for both ACRES and the Eco-scheme payments, we can further reward the environmental ambition of our farmers.”
In concluding the INHFA President encouraged the Minister and Government to give this proposal serious consideration and also stressed the need to ensure “a full disregard for income received from these two schemes for farmers availing of Farm Assist.”