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Gildernew takes conacre and Inheritance Tax fight to London

28 October, 2009 - by Westminster

Minister Michelle Gildernew MP MLA, along with Minister Sammy Wilson MP MLA, have met with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Stephen Timms MP to discuss the application of Inheritance Tax to land let in conacre.

Speaking after the meeting Minister Gildernew said: “I am very much aware that since the McClean judgment, there has been huge concern, within the farming community, about the potential Inheritance Tax liability on land let in conacre and the implications of this for farming and farming families. I have been receiving a growing volume of mail on the issue, both from individuals who are now caught in an impossible position and from others who are struggling to cope with the uncertainty that has been created.

“During our meeting with the British Treasury’s Financial Secretary, I, along with the Minister for Finance and Personnel, stressed the importance of conacre to the agricultural industry in the north of Ireland and pressed the Treasury to issue clarification on the availability of agricultural property relief.”

The Minister continued: “We also discussed the consequences of removing business property relief from holdings let in conacre and put forward a proposal that land which remains in agricultural use should not be subject to Inheritance Tax on its development value.

"During our discussions, we also highlighted the issue of the outstanding cases where HMRC has delayed settlement until the outcome of the McClean case was known. These families have faced years of uncertainty and are now facing large and unexpected Inheritance Tax liabilities for which they have had no opportunity to plan. This is grossly unfair.”

The Minister concluded by saying: “We had a very useful and constructive meeting and the Financial Secretary has agreed to consider our suggestions. My officials and I will follow up on this commitment in the coming weeks and months. As the Assembly still has no fiscal autonomy, responsibility for taxation matters rests solely with the British Treasury. I do promise to keep everyone informed about any developments and I reiterate my view and, indeed that of the Assembly, that the present position is deeply concerning, fundamentally unfair and that a solution needs to be found.”

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