Kerry shares: meeting for tax advisers to update on latest progress
A meeting on the Kerry shares issue set to take place at 6.15pm in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, is for tax advisers only, it has been confirmed.
Kerry shareholders are being urged not to attend but to ensure that their accountants and tax advisers are present for the latest update on the Revenue Commissioners’ stance on the tax liability on patronage shares.
The meeting is being organised by Kerry Co-op to advise tax practitioners on the co-op’s engagement with Revenue to date.
It is also expected to outline the next step farmers should take in relation to Revenue’s assertion that farmers may have unwittingly incurred a significant tax liability through the purchase of patronage shares from Kerry Co-op.
In the last 24 hours, it has emerged that Glanbia has been in contact with the Revenue Commissioners in the wake of the Kerry letters.
Onus on co-ops
ICMSA president John Comer has said there is a clear and pressing responsibility on co-ops that have bonus, loyalty and patronage share schemes in place to provide guidance to their member suppliers on the taxation status of such schemes.
He said that over many years and in good faith, farmers had signed up to these schemes on the basis that they were thoroughly ‘vetted’, researched and tax compliant and there was now huge concern that farmers, through no fault of their own, find themselves with potentially significant tax bills.
This was an unacceptable situation and farmers needed – and were entitled to – assurance on these matters, he said.
Given that the co-ops had designed and introduced these schemes, the onus was clearly on them to now provide clear guidance to their farmer-members on the position and their taxation status, he stressed.
Comer added that there was also a clear onus on the Government to support schemes that develop and maintain the co-op ethos that were hugely important in the agri-food sector.
The agri-food sector had been founded and built on member loyalty and if the taxation system was now going to be interpreted in a manner that threatened that vital connection, then the Government would have to move to address it, said the ICMSA president.