Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Select Committee on Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, and Taoiseach

Finance Bill 2019: Committee Stage (Resumed)

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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The amendment refers to a report on reducing the impact of carbon tax on agricultural production in light of the fact that, in the view of the Deputy, there are no viable low-carbon alternatives available to farmers. It is important to note that the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector, which are methane emissions, are not subject to carbon taxation. The main agricultural exposure to carbon tax comes from fuel inputs, primarily through the use of marked gas oil, which is subject to a low excise rate of 10.2 cent per litre. The increase in carbon tax will bring this rate to 11.8 cent per litre and will apply from 1 May. The excise rate on marked gas oil compares favourably with the excise rate of 49.49 cents per litre applied to auto diesel. As Deputy Naughten acknowledged, when my predecessor increased carbon tax in budget 2012, he provided for a double income tax relief for farmers to compensate for the increase. This relief continues to apply.

Deputies Naughten and Mattie McGrath made a point regarding farmers who are on such a low income that they do not pay income tax and, as such, would not qualify for the relief. I hope that such farmers would be in a position whereby their combined total income, assuming they have an income from other forms of work, would be sufficient to-----