IFA analysis of Budget 2015 shows that the net exchequer contribution to agriculture for 2015 is reduced, with the 2% budgeted expenditure increase by the Department of Agriculture in 2015 is due largely to a significant increase in EU funding through the Rural Development Programme.
Total funding of €150m for agri-environment schemes (REPS, AEOS, GLAS) in 2015. is a reduction of €34m on the 2014 allocation.
Funding for the Areas of Natural Constraint (formerly DAS) has been maintained at é195m.
Funding of €52m has been allocated for the Beef Genomics Scheme, with a payment of €100/animal for the first 10 animals, with remaining animals to receive a payment of €80/animal.
Funding of €9m has been allocated for the Beef Data Programme, €6m for the Beef Quality Assurance Scheme, and é1m for the Beef Efficiency Programme.
Sheep Technology Adoption Programme funding of €4m has been allocated.
Food Safety Animal Health and Welfare funding allocated is €81.5m, a reduction from €84m in 2014.
Funding for Brucellosis and TB is retained at €35m.
There is a funding allocation of €34m for TAMS grants in 2015, up from €17m in 2014.
€12m has been allocated for a once-off Farm Safety Scheme (TAMS 1) to support farmers in upgrading safety arrangements on their farms.
The funding allocation for forestry in 2015 is €110m, for a planned afforestation programme of 7,000 hectares.
Capital grant aid for horticulture of €4.2m has been provided, and €6.3 m has been allocated to investments in aquaculture and fish processing.
At a general taxation level, some reductions in income taxes were announced for the first time since the economic crisis, and the review of the agri-taxation system has led to significant changes.
The income tax exemption for long term land leasing increases 50% (e.g. from €20,000 to €30,000 for leases of greater than 10 years).
A fourth income tax free threshold of €40,000 for leases greater than 15 years is introduced.
Incorporated farm companies are now included as lessees, and a requirement for qualifying lessors to be aged over 40 is removed..
Income averaging is extended from three years to five years, and to farmers with additional self-employed income from on-farm diversification.
Capital Acquisitions Tax Agricultural Relief is retained at 90% for active farmers and for individuals who are not active farmers but who lease out the property on a long-term basis to an active farmer.
CGT Relief for Farm Restructuring is extended to the end of 2016, and rules will be amended to enable whole farm replacement to be eligible for the relief.
CGT Retirement Relief on within-family disposals is introduced for land been leased for up to 25 years (up from a current limit of 15 years), upon disposal.
To qualify for CGT Retirement Relief on disposals outside the family, land currently let under conacre must either be disposed of by the end of 2016 or can be leased out long term (at least five years) to qualify for the relief.
Leases of five years or longer will now be exempt from Stamp Duty.
Consanguinity Relief, which halves the rate of Stamp Duty (from 2% to 1% currently) between family members, is extended to the end of 2017, where the transferor is 65 years or under.
The VAT refund for unregistered farmers is increased from 5% to 5.2%.
This compensates unregistered farmers for VAT incurred on their farming inputs.
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