VAT refunds on prescribed capital investments to unregistered farmers - and especially young farmers - needs to be restored by Revenue, Macra president Elaine Houlihan has argued.

The changing interpretation of eligible items by Revenue is "concerning and is particularly acute for young farmers" who are relying on VAT refunds where access to credit is cited as one of the main barriers to business development, she said.

The situation can be resolved by Revenue returning to the default position on the interpretation of the VAT legislation, Houlihan argued.

No consultation

"A change in interpretation of existing legislation by Revenue without any consultation is not good enough, it’s not good for business and is certainly not good for young farmers investing in their farm business and who need business certainty.”

The Macra president went on to say that Revenue is effectively trying to pull the rug from VAT refunds on certain farm capital investments and is causing farmers unnecessary financial stress, particularly young farmers.

"Farmers have done their business case for investments with banks and have factored in their VAT refunds and are now potentially left in a perilous position.

"Political intervention is needed to restore the default position for VAT refunds for unregistered farmers and to halt Revenue's solo run on changing the interpretation of the legislation," concluded Houlihan.