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Finance Bill finally clarified for emigrants returning to farm the land – Reilly

26 February, 2015

Today in the Seanad, Sinn Féin Senator Kathryn Reilly asked the Minister of State Simon Harris to discuss the flexibility arrangements that will be put in place by the Revenue Commissioners for the application of Section 82 of the Finance Bill for members of the diaspora returning home to farm.

 Senator Reilly said:

 “After highlighting this issue during the passage of the Finance Bill late last year, I welcome the Minister’s comments today that the Revenue Commissioners have made provision for members of the diaspora to avail of Capital Acquisitions Tax agricultural Relief, should they wish to return home to farm.”

 “The reason I put this issue to the Minister of State was to gain clarity on some concerns expressed to me by people in the Cavan/Monaghan area during the passage of the Finance Bill. At the time, Sinn Féin had put an amendment to the Bill seeking to allay the concerns of these people that an individual who inherits agricultural property while living abroad and who wants to actively farm that property will not qualify for capital acquisitions tax agricultural relief, because he or she may not be able to return home for some time in order to do so.”

 “There is real concern in rural areas for the position of intended inheritors who plan to take over the farming enterprise but were, and still are, forced to find work in the United States, Australia or New Zealand because there are no employment opportunities at home. The requirement is that 50% of the farmer's time should be spent actively working on the farm. The option of 50% off-farm work has not been available to countless thousands of young people from a traditional farming background for the past decade, in particular. The provision in the Bill as it stands means that many of these people will not be able to take up active farming immediately.”

 “It is of the utmost importance that provisions were made for members of the diaspora who are returning home to farm.”

 “I am satisfied that today I have obtained a concrete answer for our emigrants returning to farm the land. I am pleased to see that Section 3.7 of the Revenue Commissioners Guide to Farm Tax Measures in the Finance Act 2014 allows such flexibility that members of the diaspora, who may have had to emigrate for economic reasons, will not be precluded from the relief.” 

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