The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has suggested that ground has been gained in its push to see active farmers exempted from upcoming changes to land taxes which will see some farmers billed for having farmland within local authority development zones, if the tax plans come into force as planned.

The residential zoned land tax will replace the vacant property tax and could see some farmland billed 3% of its value every year.

The IFA opposes farmers who will not develop this land from being taxed.

'Unanimous agreement'

It claimed that Government and opposition TDs came together in “unanimous agreement” at a meeting of the select committee on budgetary oversight to support granting genuine farmers an exemption from paying the tax.

A group from the IFA spoke in front of the committee on Wednesday.

IFA president Tim Cullinan commented that changes to the rules around who will pay the land tax are needed before it is introduced.

Farm land, as it was the case for the vacant site levy, must be exempt

“Farmers right across the country are deeply concerned about the impact of this penal tax. With political will, legislation can be changed to address this inequitable situation,” the IFA president said.

“We will continue to lobby and engage with Government as a matter of priority.”

IFA farm business chair Rose Mary McDonagh stated that farmers who were not looking to develop their land should have to pay zero residential zoned land tax.

“Ultimately, farm land, as it was the case for the vacant site levy, must be exempt entirely,” she claimed.

“Imposing this disproportionate tax rate relative to the income yield potential for many farmers is simply unsustainable.”

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