Stamp Duty and the Young Farmer

Kate HoareKate Hoare writes about the recent increase in stamp duty and how it affects young farmers.

Budget 2018 imposed a significant increase in stamp duty on non residential properties. Stamp duty on the transfer of farms is now charged at 6% on the current market value of the lands as opposed to the 2% previously in place.

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue in implementing this change commented that the Stamp Duty increase would encourage more inter family land transfers with the young trained farmer relief critical – as young trained farmers will not be subject to the 6% as long as they are under 35 years of age and meet the criteria set out.

No doubt as a result of this new increase in stamp duty more potential young farmers will be looking to obtain the necessary qualification in order to avail of the stamp duty exemption.

As per the 2012 Finance Act the minimum agricultural qualification for Stamp Duty Relief on Transfers of Land to Young Trained Farmers is now a FETAC Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farm Administration also known as a ‘Teagasc Green Cert’. The educational path to the minimum required qualification for Stamp Duty is set out as a Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture plus a Level 6 Specific Purpose Certificate in Farm Administration.

The ‘Green Cert’ as it is commonly known refers to a list of agriculture courses or agricultural science courses which qualifies a person as a ‘trained farmer’

There are many ways to obtain one of these qualifications in Teagasc including fulltime education in a Teagasc college or part time in one of the 12 Teagasc Regional Education Centres. Participants can also complete the distance learning course

To qualify to undertake the distance learning course the participant must be a holder of a Level 6 or Higher Major Award in a non-agricultural discipline. This part-time course extends over a minimum of 15-18 months and is offered at Teagasc Regional Education Centres and Agricultural Colleges as a distance learning option.

The Green Cert is as mentioned above one of the conditions of stamp duty exemption on the transfer of a farm to a son or daughter. It also meets the criteria for schemes or grants that may be available from time to time e.g. Young Farm Scheme.

Being from an agricultural background and growing up on a farm I decided to undertake the Green cert in my local Agricultural College in Mountbellew. Being the holder of a non agricultural level 8 degree I was able to study the course via the distance learning course. The course was delivered over an 18 month period with individuals having to attend at the college one day a month and completing the rest of the course online. I found the course very interesting delivering a lot of technical knowledge in the areas of Beef and Sheep production and a focus on grassland management. Individuals also had to maintain a weekly diary on the home/host farm, and sit exams at the end of every module.

Having just completed the course I would highly recommend it not just for the stamp duty benefits but also learning how to identify farming efficiencies and how to improve your farms profitability.

If you have any query in relation to farms transfers or any agricultural law related query please do not hesitate to contact me, Kate Hoare on khoare@harrissolrs.ie.