Budget 2018 – Funding, Taxation, Social Welfare Measures and More

Take a look at the measures announced in Budget 2018 and how they impact on your income and your farm business. 

Agriculture funding

Main changes to the Agriculture Budget

The Agriculture Budget has been increased from €1,468m to €1,532m, an increase of 4%. Expenditure on farm schemes under the Rural Development Programme will be €626m in 2018.

Farm Scheme Funding

Agri-environment measures
€233.8m has been allocated for the Agri-environment schemes (GLAS / AEOS/ Locally-led/Organics). This includes a funding allocation of €206m for GLAS, €6m for AEOS, €11.3m for locally-led schemes, and €10.5m in the Organic Farming Scheme.

Sheep Welfare Scheme
€20m has been allocated for the Sheep Welfare Scheme.

Areas of Natural Constraint
An additional €25m has been allocated for Areas of Natural Constraint to bring total funding allocation of €227m for 2018.

Beef Data and Genomics programme
€50m has been allocated for 2018 for the BDGP suckler scheme.

Knowledge Transfer
Funding of €23m has been allocated for Knowledge Transfer programmes for 2018.

€70m has been allocated for TAMS in 2018.

€106m has been allocated for forestry.

€5m has been provided for capital investment in the horticulture sector.

Food Safety Animal Health & Welfare
Total funding allocated is €87m under this heading, which includes €34m for TB and Brucellosis eradication.

State Agencies
An allocation of €257.6m has been allocated for the non-commercial State sponsored bodies (Teagasc, Marine Institute, BIM, and Sea Fisheries Protection Agency).

Brexit Loan Schemes
€25m is to be provided to support the development of Brexit response loan schemes for farmers, fishermen and food businesses in 2018.

Separate to this, a €300m low-cost loan scheme is to be put in place for businesses impacted by Brexit (this includes food businesses but excludes primary agriculture and fishermen)


Agricultural taxation

Stamp Duty reliefs

Stamp duty relief for inter-family transfers (Consanguinity Relief) is to be retained at 1% for a further 3 years.

The exemption from stamp duty for young trained farmers is to be continued.

SEAI accelerated capital allowance scheme

This scheme, which support investment in energy efficient equipment is being extended for a further 3 years to end 2020.

Farm land under solar panels

Agricultural land under solar panels is to be classified as qualifying agricultural land for the purposes of Capital Acquisition Tax and Capital Gains Tax reliefs. This will only apply if the panels cover no more than 50% of the farm holding.

General Taxation

Earned Income Tax Credit

For self-employed tax payers, including farmers, who do not receive the PAYE Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit of €950 is being increased by €200 to €1,150 from 2018.

Tax bands

The Standard Rate Cut Off Point – the point at which income attracts the higher rate of income tax – will rise in 2018 by €750. The cut-off point for a single earner will be €34,550, for a married couple (single income) will be €43,550.

Universal Social charge

The rates of USC are being amended as follows:
The 2.5% rate is to reduce to 2%
The 5% rate is to reduce to 4.75%


Tax credits & reliefs

The Home Carer Credit is to increase by €100 to €1,200.

For those with Mortgage Interest Relief, the rate will continue at 75% in 2018, and reduce to 50% in 2019 and 25% in 2020.

Tax on land and property

Stamp Duty on commercial property transactions is to increase from 2% to 6% with effect from midnight October 10th.

A stamp duty refund scheme will be introduced for land purchased for the development of housing. In order to qualify, developers will have to commence the development within 30 months of the land purchase.

The Vacant Sites Levy rate is to increase to 7% in the second and subsequent years, meaning if the owner does not develop the land in 2018 they will pay 3% in 2019 and will then pay 7% from January 1 2019.


Social Protection, children and education

Social Protection

Payment rates

Payment rates are to increase by €5 per week for all weekly social welfare payments including Farm Assist, Job-Seekers Allowance and Benefit, Disability Allowance and Carers Allowance. There will also be a €2 increase for each qualifying dependent child. These increases will take effect from the week beginning 26th March 2018.

There will be a €5 increase in the State Pension to take effect from the week commencing March 26th 2018.

A Christmas Bonus of 85% will be paid to social welfare recipients in 2017.

Telephone Allowance

A new Telephone Support allowance of €2.50 per week is to be introduced for those in receipt of the Living Alone Allowance and Fuel Allowance

Fuel Allowance

The Fuel Allowance will be extended to 27 weeks.

Rural Social Scheme

250 additional places will be allocated on the Rural Social Scheme, bringing the total number of places to 3,350.

Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage will increase by 30c to €9.55 in 2018.


Prescription charges for all medical card holders under 70 will reduce from €2.50 per item to €2 per item, with a reduction in the monthly cap from €25 to €20.

The threshold for the Drugs Payment Scheme will reduce from €144 to €134.

€55m has been allocated to the National Treatment Purchase Fund.
Children and Education

From September 2018, the free Pre-School Programme will be extended to ensure entitlement to 2 full years

1,300 additional teaching posts will be allocated in schools in 2018. The pupil-teacher ratio will decrease at primary level to 26:1, while there will be enhanced Guidance Counsellor Provision at second-level. €1.7bn will be allocated for special education needs, allowing for 1,000 SNAs to be recruited by September 2018.


Other areas


€17m to be allocated for the rollout of the Renewable Heat Incentive and the take up of electric vehicles.

800 additional Gardaí and 500 civilians will be recruited during 2018.

Office of Public Works

€432m has been allocated to various flood relief projects.

Rural and Community Development

An additional allocation of €8m has been allocated to National Rural Development schemes including rural recreation (up 50%) and Rural Walks measures; the CLAR programme; and support for the rural plan for rural development (up 33%)

€3m has been allocated to the Town and Villages Regeneration Scheme

An additional €5m has been allocated to LEADER.

Read a full report on Budget 2018 measures affecting farming and agriculture 


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