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Revenue must treat Farmers as Citizens, not Targets in new Taxation measures – Conway-Walsh

29 May, 2018 - by Rose Conway-Walsh

Mayo Sinn Féin Senator Rose Conway-Walsh has said Revenue must treat farmers as citizens not targets in new taxation measures, saying that small farmers in the West of Ireland struggling to make a living on marginal land must be exempted from further bureaucracy when it comes to new taxation measures proposed.

Speaking at the IFA meeting held in Castlebar last week, Senator Conway-Walsh said:

“The new PAYE modernisation scheme due to be implemented from January 2019 is unworkable for small farmers.  Having to report any payments made to spouses, sons or daughters or casual labour in real-time is going to cause huge challenges for farmers.  Firstly, many farmers in rural Ireland do not have access to broadband or may not have a computer or the necessary skills so asking them to upload details before a payment is made is unrealistic.  

“Traditionally, those helping out on the farm could be allocated a payment when grants were received and that could be included as normal expenditure.  Now, gross payments would have to be made and casual labour treated as employees.  For instance, if a farmer has to go to a hospital appointment or is hospitalised, any person who is engaged to help out has to be classed as an employee, uploaded onto a system, and reported to revenue in real-time.

“There may also be implications for young people trying to avail of SUSI grants to go to college where students are given a payment to help out on the farm.  Additionally, I can see that people on social welfare will be reluctant to make themselves available for what amounts to a day here and there in case their payments are affected and they are left without a social welfare payment to meet their bills.

“Contrasting the taxation treatment of vulture funds and banks against how farm families are targeted, it is clear to see the unfairness and difference in approach.  Vulture funds have been able to avail of tax loopholes reducing their taxation to minuscule levels while banks can write off all losses for decades.  

“It is past time we achieve taxation fairness for small farmers.  Rural Ireland without farmers who have been forced to quit the land is not where we want to be.  Our farming community is much more valuable to us than any vulture fund will ever be.” 

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