Early tractor ooe of stars of Drish yiotage sceoe:
culture Department. Farmers were disappointed that the Earned Income Tax Credit for self-employed taxpayers increased by only €200 in the Budget, leaving a farmer earning €16,500 still paying €500 a year more in income tax than an employee. Full equity had been promised in the Programme for Government. Meanwhile, all taxpayers can benefit from the 40% tax rate applying from €34,550, up from €33,800 previously. This represents a €300 tax cut. The budget announcement also included 250 extra places in the Rural Social Scheme. Like other social welfare schemes, the Farm Assist maximum weekly rate will increase by €5 from March 26, 2018, with proportionate increases for qualified adult dependants, and a €2 increase per qualified dependent child. The new Department of Rural and Community Develo p m e n t h a d i t s f u n d i n g increased 12%, by €19m. The Brexit threat to the food industry is also addressed by €4.5m of extra funding for Bord Bia, and €5m of grant aid to companies for improved efficiency and productivity. There is also €5m for research and innovation in the Prepared Consumer Foods Sector, particularly challenged by Brexit. Farmers using up to half of their land to install solar panels will be eligible for agricultural and retirement tax relief. Farmers interested in renewable heat generation welcomed the announcement of €7m in the second half of 2018 for rollout of the new Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme. Generation of heat from biogas and biomass such as wood and energy crops is likely to be included in the RHI.
6% stamp duty on some farm sales: p3
What wasn’t in the Budget: p3
Kieran Coughlan column: p4