Kieran Coughlan: Up to €22,850 tax-free fishing income

In many rural seaside communities, farmers can be engaged in both part-time farming and fishing.
Kieran Coughlan: Up to €22,850 tax-free fishing income

Revenue have in the past week published details of a new fisher tax credit.

This is of relevance to both employees and self-employed persons engaged in fishing.

The individual must spend at least 80 days at sea (for a minimum period of 8 hours per day continuously at sea).

The vessel used for fishing must be licenced by an EU state, and it must be registered on the EU Community Fishing Fleet.

Part-time fishers will be eligible for the credit providing they satisfy the above qualifying conditions.

Fishing for any kind of fish found in the sea is covered, including crustaceans and molluscs, but not including salmon, fresh water eels, or aquaculture animals.

For a person taking up an employment which qualifies for the credit, the combination of personal tax credits, PAYE credit and the new fisher tax credit now means an individual can earn up to €22,850 before paying income tax.

The tax credit will of course be of benefit to those in the industry experiencing difficulty in attracting and  retaining workers.

At the publication of Budget 2017, Finance Minister  Michael Noonan said: “I am keen to acknowledge the commitment and hard work of fishermen and the contribution they make to the development of our blue economy.

“It is vital for this sector to maintain employment and attract new entrants.”

Meanwhile, Bord Iascaigh Mhara figures show that fish retail sales are booming.

Despite it being the highest priced meat, retail sales of fish have increased by 5.2% in the year to June 2016. Fresh fish prices rose, while the sales volume was maintained.

Meanwhile, prices fell for other meat protein sources over the same year.

In the context of managing Ireland’s carbon footprint, development of our fishing sector offers an opportunity to supply products with a medium low carbon footprint, lower than the other meats.

However, it is disappointing that the new tax credit does not apply to those engaged in fish farming, which can be a suitable alternative enterprise for land-based farmers.

Meanwhile, our land-based farmers are certainly becoming much more aware of their carbon footprint, and the industry is taking action to reduce its impact.

Beef farmers in the Beef Data and Genomics Programme, farmers in Bord Bia assurance schemes, must submit carbon navigators.

At last year’s Agricultural Science Association conference, Professor Alan Matthews predicted that caps on carbon emissions will be the new quota. The focus on carbon is built into schemes such as GLAS (Green Low-carbon Agri-environmental Scheme) and the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), which includes grants for low-emission spreader technology.

Chartered tax adviser Kieran Coughlan, Belgooly, Co Cork.

(086) 8678296

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