IFA calls for exemptions from 1% budget levy

IFA president Padraig Walshe has called for all on low income — including farmers — to be exempted from the 1% income levy, and account taken of normal depreciation and investment allowances when levying farmers and self employed.

He said there was huge anger at targeting of low-income drystock farmers in budget cuts.

IFA calculates 2009 estimate shortfalls and budget cutbacks total more than €400 million, including €325m from the farm waste management scheme; €34m each from the suckler cow welfare scheme and disadvantaged areas; €15m from the farm investment scheme and €14m from the fallen animals scheme.

Cuts in disadvantaged area payments will affect about 40% of farmers in the scheme, taking €1,055 off farmers with 45ha or more in a designated mountain grazing or more severely handicapped area, and €905 in less severely handicapped areas.

The maximum payment on mountain land would fall from €4,400 to €3,400.

Farmers selling land to buy land, or losing land under a CPO will pay more capital gains tax, which rises from 20% to 22%.

But a farmer purchasing land after October 15 last will only pay 6% stamp duty, where the value of the land is over €80,000. The rate has been cut from 9%.

Tax relief on young farmer stamp duty, stamp duty consolidation, stock reliefs and farm pollution control are extended to 2011 or 2012 — worth more than €65 million in a full year, combined.

The budget provided €127.7m for forestry, an increase of 6% over 2008. The Teagasc budget has been cut from €133m to €122m.

Funding for the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs is reduced by 6%. But provision has been made to maintain numbers in the Rural Social Scheme at the 2008 level, and Community Services Programme funding of €50.85m will support about 2,100 jobs.

Arts, Sport and Tourism Minister Martin Cullen said the horseracing and greyhounds sectors would have expected about €80m in legislatively-based funding in 2009. Only €70m is being provided.

Budget 2009 included a 10% increase in funding for sustainable energy programmes. Capital allowances for energy efficient equipment have been significantly expanded, said Energy Minister Eamon Ryan.


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