IFA President John Bryan said the Association is utterly opposed to any attempt to apply a capital asset test on farm families to qualify for 3<sup>rd</sup> level education grants. He said, “This is non-negotiable as far as farm families are concerned and will be resisted by IFA.”
John Bryan said “The average income for full-time farmers, i.e. those farmers who do not have an off-farm job, was €17,770 last year, which is less than 50% of the current income limit for student grants of €41,000. These figures clearly show there is no connection between the asset value of a farm and the income derived from it.”
“As it is, the method of assessment of farm income used by the Department of Education discriminates against farm families by disallowing a number of expenses which are allowed in income tax computation. The following are disallowed in calculating “reckonable” income by the Department: capital allowances, lease payments, and interest on borrowing for capital purposes. In addition, the Minister for Education announced in 2009 that the income tax adjustment for stock relief will be disallowed for 2010/11.”
Meanwhile, IFA Farm Business Chairman James Kane has said the income relief to offset the cost of the carbon tax will be unworkable in cases where farmers have no taxable income. “Given the commitment in the Programme for Government to exempt farming from the carbon tax, this proposal must be revisited so that all farmers can avail of the relief.”
He said he would be holding discussions with the Departments of Finance and Agriculture on the matter.