Farm­ers will op­pose new taxes, sur­vey shows

Bush Telegraph - - Focus On Farming - By FED­ER­ATED FARM­ERS

Any move to in­tro­duce a cap­i­tal gains, land or en­vi­ron­ment tax will meet stiff op­po­si­tion from farm­ers, a Fed­er­ated Farm­ers sur­vey shows.

The Fed­er­a­tion asked its mem­bers for their views last month, to help in­form the farmer group’s sub­mis­sion to the Tax Work­ing Group. Nearly 1400 re­sponses in­di­cated strong op­po­si­tion to some of the new sug­gested taxes.

Just on 81 per cent op­posed a cap­i­tal gains tax ex­clud­ing the fam­ily home, with 11 per cent in sup­port. How­ever, 47 per cent would sup­port a CGT on prop­erty sold within a five year ‘bright line’ test. There is cur­rently a two-year thresh­old, and the mea­sure is seen by some as a way of dis­cour­ag­ing spec­u­la­tors.

“Farmer op­po­si­tion is even more en­trenched on the idea of a land tax, ex­clud­ing un­der the fam­ily home, with 91 per cent against and only 2 per­cent in favour,” Fed­er­ated Farm­ers Eco­nom­ics and Com­merce spokesper­son An­drew Hog­gard said.

“A land tax would be puni­tive and in­equitable on farm­ing. The strong op­po­si­tion to it in last month’s sur­vey mir­rors its ut­ter re­jec­tion by ru­ral New Zealand the last time our tax sys­tem was re­viewed, in 2010,” An­drew said.

Some 82 per cent of re­spon­dents op­posed en­vi­ron­men­tal tax­a­tion but there was mi­nor­ity sup­port if such taxes were used to fund on­farm en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives.

Tax in­cen­tives for those who in­vested in en­vi­ron­ment-re­lated on-farm in­vest­ments drew 84 per cent sup­port.

“Just on 12 per cent sup­ported a ‘pro­gres­sive com­pany tax’ (a lower rate for small com­pa­nies), with 26 per cent op­posed and 55 per cent think­ing ‘maybe’ de­pend­ing on what is con­sid­ered ‘small’. There was a lot of con­cern about com­pli­ance im­pli­ca­tions,” An­drew said.

Mean­while, 66 per cent op­posed ex­empt­ing ba­sic items, such as food, from GST, with 29 per cent sup­port­ing.

“Fed­er­ated Farm­ers will be send­ing in a com­pre­hen­sive sub­mis­sion to the Tax Work­ing Group, which will pick up on the con­cerns and com­ments raised in our mem­ber sur­vey.

“But we also en­cour­age in­di­vid­ual farm­ers to have their say di­rect to the TWG by April 30. This is an is­sue vi­tal to all New Zealan­ders,” An­drew said.

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