I appreciate that it is still only the month of August, but once children go back to school in September, the budget will be upon us before we know it.
Who knows what changes the budget might bring?
If it is your intention to transfer farmland this year, or to receive farmland as a gift, it is well advised to start the process now, as there are many matters to attend to before you put pen to paper.
It is advisable to start making appointments with professionals as early as possible such as an accountant, tax consultant and a solicitor.
You may also wish to take advice from an agricultural consultant.
Young Trained Farmer Relief, which is a relief from stamp duty on farmland, has become more complicated, and there are now more conditions than ever to satisfy in order to qualify for this relief.
There are various aspects to being a qualifying farmer.
You must be under the age of 35 years on the date of execution of the deed of transfer; you must have an approved agricultural qualification.
You must also spend at least 50% of your normal working time farming the transferred land; and retain ownership of the land for a period of at least five years from the date of execution of the deed of transfer.
You must also submit a business plan to Teagasc before the execution of the deed transferring the land.
All conditions need to be in place before claiming Young Trained Farmer relief before the execution of the deed of transfer.
The most important advice for any farmer at this stage who wishes to transfer farmland is not to leave it until the last minute and, as a result, end up rushing into it.
The transfer should not take place on the eve of a 35th birthday, the age limit cut-off for claiming Young Trained Farmer relief in relation to stamp duty on lifetime transfers.
Transferring the family farm is much more than merely a simple business transaction, it is a major decision with potentially far-reaching consequences, not just for the transferor and the transferee but also for other family members whose circumstances should be taken into account.
Valuations need to be prepared by auctioneers or valuers.
Maps sometimes need to be prepared by an engineer or architect.
Tax planning is required in all cases, with detailed tax planning required in some cases. There is a lot to be done before any paperwork is drafted.
Historically, farms were passed to the successor, usually the eldest son, upon the death of the farmer, with little or no advanced planning.
Nowadays, it is widely acknowledged that greater emphasis on planning for the handover of the family farm to the next generation is vital, to ensure future viability and sustainability.
The absence of long-term, successful planning can have negative consequences for the future of the farm. The older generation struggles to maintain work levels and enthusiasm, and the younger generation becomes disillusioned with the lack of clarity and certainty as to their future.
In addition, ineffective tax planning could lead to increased tax bills.
The quote “give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” highlights the importance of preparation.
Timely advice and professional advisers will assist in finding the most suitable succession plan for every farmer and his or her farm.
Karen Walsh, from a farming background, is a solicitor practicing in Walsh & Partners, Solicitors, 17, South Mall, Cork (021-4270200), and author of ‘Farming and the Law’.
Walsh & Partners also specialises in personal injury claims, conveyancing, probate and family law.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.walshandpartners.ie
While every care is taken to ensure accuracy of information contained in this article, solicitor Karen Walsh does not accept responsibility for errors or omissions howsoever arising, and you should seek legal advice in relation to your particular circumstances at the earliest possible time.