In Budget 2015, it was announced that there would be an exemption from stamp duty for leases of 6 years or more. However, this measure had to wait for EU State Aid approval, and so the relief did not come into effect until 1st August 2018.
Previously, all land lease agreements which comprise of a written document were liable for stamp duty. To avail of the relief now in place, the lessee must meet the following criteria:
- Have a relevant agricultural qualification (or gets the qualification within a period of 4 years from the date of execution of the lease)
- Spend at least 50% of their normal working time on the farm (Revenue defines this as a minimum of 20 hours working on the farm a week, averaged over a year).
Also, the term of the lease must be for a period of at least 6 years and must not exceed 35 years.
The relief is claimed on a self-assessment basis, where the qualifying conditions for relief are satisfied; it must be filed through Revenue’s online system (ROS).
If the above criteria are not met and the relief cannot be availed of, stamp duty is then calculated as 1% of the average annual rent and is to be paid by the lessee. For example, if the annual rent payable on leased land is €10,000, Stamp Duty of €100 is liable.
The full amount of stamp duty has to be paid within 30 days of the date of execution of the instrument. In practice Revenue allow a further period of 14 days in which to file an e-stamping return and pay the duty. Failure to file and pay within 44 days resulted in late filing and interest charges.
For further and more detailed information see Revenue.