Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Finance
244. To ask the Minister for Finance the steps his Department will take to ensure farmers have more liquidity, specifically in relation to stamp duty; if he will consider a reduction on the agricultural rate and the young farmer stamp duty relief; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62723/21]
My answer will focus on the stamp duty treatment of agricultural land, as this is the area highlighted in this question.
All open land, including agricultural land, is classified as non-residential property for stamp duty purposes.
Any re-categorisation of agricultural land for the purposes of stamp duty, would not be appropriate as it would introduce an inequity in terms of providing agriculture with an additional advantage over other forms of business.
A number of stamp duty related reliefs which considerably reduce the applicable rate on agricultural land for qualifying acquisitions are currently available to the farming sector including Farm Consolidation Relief, the Young Trained Farmer Stamp Duty Relief and Consanguinity Relief.
I have no plans to amend the status of agricultural property for the purposes of stamp duty.
In regards to the young trained farmer stamp duty relief, I announced its extension for a further year to 31 December 2022 in my Budget speech this year. This relief provides a full relief from stamp duty on transfers of agricultural land (including farmhouses and buildings) for qualifying farmers.
This measure, designed to support young farmers, is an EU State aid which is granted in accordance with the Agricultural Block Exemption Regulation, or ABER. The current ABER is due to expire on the 31st of December 2022. Therefore, to comply with EU State aid rules, I could only announce an extension of the relief until that date. The same applies in relation to stock relief for young trained farmers and farm partnerships.
I have been advised by the Department of Agriculture that they are confident that reliefs of this nature will continue to be considered an acceptable form of State aid under the terms of any revised regulation. I am hopeful, therefore, that I will be able to provide for a further extension of these reliefs next year.