Budget 2018: income volatility top of ICMSA’s budget wishlist
The Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICSMA) has focused on income tax and income protection in its Budget 2018 submission.

The association’s farm business committee chair Lorcan McCabe said the Government must “protect vulnerable sectors”, especially in the face of Brexit.

Income volatility management

McCabe says dairy farmers’ incomes “fluctuate from year to year due to many circumstances” and has accused the Government of impeding “the ability of the sole trader to grow and develop their business” due to the agri-taxation system it operates.

The ICMSA wants the introduction of a farm management deposits model, which would act as a farm income volatility management tool.

In simple terms, the ICMSA wants a percentage of a farmer’s profit to be put into the farm management deposit for a maximum period of five years, which would be taxed at 12.5% in a once-off manner.

These funds could then be used during a downturn in the farmer’s business.

Income averaging

In relation to income average, the ICMSA proposes that individual farmers should be allowed to opt for three-year or five-year averaging in order to allow them to more effectively manage income volatility.

Land policy and taxation

In relation to the old reliables of land taxation, the ICMSA is calling for consanguinity relief to be extended, a reduction capital gains tax rate of 33% and an extension to the income tax relief for land leases.

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Full Budget 2018 coverage

Two injured in under-age tractor driving incident
Police in Northern Ireland said two juveniles were injured in an incident with a tractor driven by a third one.

The PSNI's Cookstown unit said on its Facebook page that it joined two ambulances and paramedics at the scene in Coagh, Co Tyrone this Sunday.

"Two juveniles fell from a tractor being driven by a third juvenile," police said. "Both sustained injuries significant enough that they required transfer by ambulance to hospital. The tractor should not have been on the road and should not have been carrying passengers."

Officers have prepared a file for the Public Prosecution Service against the driver for "a range of offences," adding that the incident "could have been a lot worse".

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Repeat of forgotten farmers blunder may be avoided in new CAP
There may be a chance to support the so-called forgotten farmers who were excluded by the rules of young farmers' schemes in the past, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has indicated.

Fianna Fáil agriculture spokesperson Charlie McConalogue asked Minister Creed this week "his views on whether young farmers who are under 40 years of age but that have been farming for more than five years and that are not permitted to access measures currently under Common Agricultural Policy, CAP, including being able to apply for the national reserve and for top-up entitlements will be eligible in the new CAP".

It appears that there will be some member state discretion in configuring the necessary supports

His question was connected to a proposed rule allowing each European country to define what is a young farmer after 2020.

Minister Creed said that while increased support for young farmers in the proposed structure for the next CAP applies to trained "young farmers who have newly set up a holding for the first time" or become head of the farm for the first time, "it appears that there will be some member state discretion in configuring the necessary supports".

This could avoid a repeat of the anomaly that has seen around 2,000 farmers miss out on current schemes.

Consultation

On these and other questions relating to the CAP after 2020, the minster said he would open a new public consultation next month now that the European Commission has published its initial proposal. "Ultimately the shape of the regulations will be determined by engagement with the Commission, member states the European Parliament, but I am anxious that Irish citizens have an opportunity to have their voices heard in the process," Minister Creed said.

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