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Other Farm Related Government Services

  1. Rural Development Programme for Ireland 2007- 2013, Axes 3 and 4
  2. Clár
  3. INTERREG IVA
  4. Minimum Pay and Conditions of Employment for Agricultural Workers
  5. Taxation of Tractors
  6. Rural Water Programme
  7. Tractor Safety
  8. Local Improvements Scheme (LIS): Farm Road Works
  9. Health and Safety Authority
  10. The Land Registry
  11. Met Éireann
  12. Tax Implications of the Single Payment Scheme
  13. Income Tax/Corporation Tax/Capital Gains Tax
  14. Agricultural Relief from Capital Acquisitions Tax
  15. Stamp Duties
  16. Value Added Tax
  17. Milk Production Partnership
  18. Taxation of Farming Income
  19. Ordnance Survey Ireland
  20. Farm Assist Scheme
  21. PRSI for Farm Spouses
  22. Farm Partnerships
  23. Rural Social Scheme (RSS)
  24. Western Development Commission

 

    RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME FOR IRELAND 2007 - 2013, Axes 3 and 4

    Funding available for the delivery of LEADER-type activities under Axes 3 and 4 of the Rural Development Programme 2007 - 2013 has almost trebled from €150m for the 2000-2006 period to €425.4m for the 2007-2013 period. The roll-out of these axes commenced in February 2009.

    Measures under the programme aim to meet the key Programme objectives of improving the quality of quality of life in rural areas and diversification of the rural economy through:

    • Increasing economic activity and employment rates in the wider rural economy through encouraging on-farm diversification into non-agricultural activities;
    • Supporting the creation and development of micro-enterprises in the broader rural economy;
    • Encouraging rural tourism built on the sustainable development of Ireland's natural resources, cultural and natural heritage;
    • Improving the access to basic services by rural dwellers by, for example, addressing inadequate recreational facilities;
    • Regenerating villages and their surrounding areas by improving their economic prospects and the quality of life;
    • Maintaining, restoring and upgrading the natural and built heritage.

    The individual measures under the Programme including indicative allocations are listed below:

    • Diversification into non-agricultural activities for farm families €16.66m;
    • Support for business creation and development - €48.26m;
    • Encouragement of tourism activities - €45.4m;
    • Basic services for the economy and rural population - €49.61m;
    • Village renewal and development - €54.2m;
    • Conservation and upgrading of the rural heritage - €51.7m;
    • Training and information on adapted and new skills - €29.45m; and
    • Implementing co-operation projects - €10.7m.

    36 Local Action Groups, formerly known as LEADER companies, have been contracted to deliver the Programme throughout Ireland and anyone interested in applying for funding should contact these Groups directly. Relevant information including contact details of all the Local Action Groups is available on the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs website at www.pobail.ie.  

    CLÁR

    The CLÁR programme was introduced in 2001 to address depopulation and deficits in infrastructure and services in rural areas. The programme co-ordinates existing sources of public and private finance and provides additional funding for the provision of small scale economic and social infrastructure to help rural communities. The areas covered by the CLÁR Programme are those that suffered an average population loss of 35% per county between 1926 and 2002, the sole exception being the Cooley peninsula which was included due to the particular difficulties suffered by that area due to Foot and Mouth disease. The Programme now operates in 23 counties and caters for a population of almost 727,000. CLÁR area maps can be accessed at the following website address: http://www.pobail.ie/en/RAPIDandCLAR/CLAR/CLARtargetareas/

    The CLÁR Programme provides funding or co-funding together with other Government Departments, State Agencies and Local Authorities aimed at accelerating investment in selected priority developments. These investments support physical, economic and social infrastructure across a variety of measures. The measures introduced under the Programme reflect the priorities identified by the communities in the selected areas. The CLÁR schemes cover a wide variety of developments such as Water and Sewerage Schemes, Bi-lingual signage, Sports capital projects, Health projects, School Outdoor Play facilities and Coastal projects. In 2009, funds of €13.6m were spent on the various measures. In the years 2002 - 2009, €131m was expended on investments under the programme. A budget of €8m has been allocated to the programme for 2010. As a result of the reduced allocation for 2010, many measures under the Programme which closed in August 2008 will remain closed for new applications.

    Further information can be obtained from The CLÁR Section, Rural Development Division, Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Teeling Street, Tubbercurry, Co Sligo. Tel: 071-9186700

    INTERREG IVA

    RURAL DEVELOPMENT SUB-THEME (PRIORITY 2, THEME 2.1)

    INTERREG IVA (2007-2013) is the successor to the EU INTERREG IIIA Programme. The new programme works to address economic and social problems, which have been exacerbated by the existence of land and maritime borders and promote greater territorial cohesion. It will carry forward the key aspects of the previous INTERREG 1, INTERREG II and INTERREG IIIA Programmes. The previous programmes have only operated on a Northern Ireland/Ireland cross-border basis; however, following a re-definition of maritime borders by the European Union, a distinctive aspect of this programme is the inclusion of Western Scotland.

    The Programme is delivered through two priorities:

    Priority 1: Co-operation for a More Prosperous Cross Border Region; and
    Priority 2: Co-operation for a Sustainable Cross Border Region.

    Priority 2, Theme 2.1 of the programme looks at developing cross-border infrastructure in the areas such as ICT, transport, telecommunications, energy, waste, utilities and environmental protection. €10m is available from the Programme for the rural development sub-theme, targeting rural disadvantage, of Priority 2, Theme 2.1. of which €4m will be contributed by the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.

    The Programme is administered by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

    Further information can be obtained by accessing www.seupb.eu or by contacting them at: SEUPB, M:Tek II Building, Armagh Road, Monaghan. Tel: 0477 7003 Fax: 0477 1258Email: interreg@seupb.eu

    DEPARTMENT OF ENTERPRISE, TRADE AND INNOVATION

    MINIMUM PAY AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT FOR AGRICULTURAL WORKERS

    Legal minimum rates of pay and conditions of employment for agricultural workers are set by the Labour Court on the recommendation of the Agricultural Workers' Joint Labour Committee. Employers are bound, under penalty, to pay rates of wages and observe conditions of employment, which are not less favourable than those, prescribed in the Employment Regulation Order made by the Court. They are also bound by the obligations imposed by the generality of other employment legislation e.g. Organisation of Working Time Act, Protection of Young Persons Act and Payment of Wages Act etc.

    The Employment Regulation Order covers agricultural workers engaged in dairy farming, poultry farming, the use of land as grazing, meadow or pasture land or orchard or osier land or woodland, or for market gardens, private gardens, nursery grounds or sports grounds, horticulture, the production of any consumable produce which is grown for sale or for other use, the caring for or the rearing or training of animals and any other incidental activities connected with agriculture.

    The employer of any worker (i.e. workers covered by the Order) are bound, under penalty, to keep records of wages, payment, working hours, etc., and must retain these records for three years.

    The provisions of the Employment Regulation Order, and of employment legislation generally, are enforced by Inspectors from the National Employment Rights Authority. Inspectors have power to enter premises, inspect wage sheets and other records, interview the employers and workers concerned and institute legal proceedings (if necessary).

    Copies of Agricultural Workers' Joint Labour Committee Employment Regulation Orders are available from the Labour Court, Tom Johnson House, Haddington Road, Dublin 4, Tel: 01 6136666 and from NERA, The National Employment Rights Authority, O'Brien Road, Carlow Tel: 1890 808090 or email: info@employmentrights.ie website: www.employmentrights.ie Complaints in relation to breaches of the Order and of employment legislation should be notified to NERA Inspection Services, O'Brien Road, Carlow, Tel: 1890 22010 or email: inspection@employmentrights.ie  

    DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT, HERITAGE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT

    TAXATION OF TRACTORS

    The standard rate of motor taxation for a general haulage tractor is €288 per annum, but the owner of the tractor whose only or chief occupation is farming may, on payment of a substantially reduced rate of €88 per annum, use his or her tractor for the haulage of his or her own agricultural produce, articles required for his or her farm, including farmhouse and buildings, and similar goods for another farmer provided they are not carried for reward.

    Further concessions available to owners of tractors taxed at the €88 rate enable such owners:

    • To haul, for reward, milk to a creamery or cream-separating station, separated milk from a creamery or cream-separating station, and milk containers to and from a creamery or cream-separating station;
    • To haul, for reward, livestock owned by a person resident not more than two miles from the haulier's residence, to or from a farm and to or from a livestock auction, market or fair. This concession is confined to days on which the auction, market or fair takes place and is limited to distances of twenty miles by public road from the haulier's residence.

    The €88 tax rate also extends to tractors owned by agricultural co-operative societies and used for:

    • the haulage for farmers, provided it is not for reward, of the produce of their farms and articles required for the farms;
    • the haulage for farmers, for reward, of milk to a creamery or cream-separating station, separated milk from a creamery or cream-separating station and milk containers to and from a creamery or cream-separating station.

    Cut-down trucks, vans, land-rovers, jeeps and other such vehicles are not classified as agricultural tractors even if they have altered engines or gear-boxes.

    RURAL WATER PROGRAMME

    The Rural Water Programme is administered by the local authorities and is comprised of a number of measures to address deficiencies in:

    • Group water schemes;
    • Small public water and sewerage systems in rural villages;
    • Private individual supplies where an alternative group or public supply is not available.

    Grants and subsidies, which are designed to bring quality deficient group schemes up to a satisfactory standard, are as follows:

    GROUP WATER SCHEMES

    • A grant of 100% of the cost of essential treatment and disinfection facilities is available for schemes participating in bundled Design Build Operate contracts. Other necessary works like buildings, reservoirs, pipelines associated with the contract are grant aided at up to 85% of cost, subject to a maximum grant of €6,475.66 per house;
    • Grants of up to 85% of cost subject to a maximum grant of €6,475.66 per house are available for new group water schemes and for general upgrading of existing group water schemes using conventional procurement.

    SUBSIDY TOWARDS THE OPERATIONAL COSTS OF GROUP WATER SCHEMES

    The amount of subsidy will be 100% of the qualifying expenditure as approved by the local authority, subject to a limit of:

    • €70.00 per annum for each house supplied from a local authority source;
    • €140.00 per annum for each house supplied from a private source.

    Separate subsidies are also available towards "bona fide" Operational and Maintenance (OandM) costs associated with Design/Build/Operate (DBO) contracts for group schemes that have their own water treatment facilities. Details are available from County Councils.

    INDIVIDUAL WATER SUPPLIES

    Grants are available for the provision or improvement of individual supplies in houses more than 7 years old, which are not connected to either a public or group scheme water supply. The maximum household grant is €2,031.58 subject to a maximum of 75% of the cost.

    Application Forms and Explanatory Memoranda governing the conditions of these schemes are available by contacting the Rural Water Programme Liaison Officer at your local County Council.

    DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT

    TRACTOR SAFETY

    Tractors are governed by normal road traffic laws on driver licensing, insurance, motor tax and vehicle lighting. All tractors used in a public place must be fitted with safety frames. The purpose of the frame is to protect the driver from being crushed underneath if the tractor overturns. The frame must comply with approved standards. It is up to the owner or driver to fit a safety cab.

    Tractors must carefully transport loose material such as silage, slurry, sand or gravel, so that the material does not spill onto a public road and cause a crash. Loads of lime or other dusty materials, offal or other offensive material must be fully covered with a tarpaulin.

    Farmers using agricultural tractors and trailers to haul agricultural produce must not:

    • Use exceptionally high frames on trailers which could endanger the stability, steering and braking of an agricultural tractor and trailer combination, or
    • Exceed the maximum legally permissible combination weight or the design gross vehicle weight.

    TRACTORS ON THE ROAD

    A tractor used in a public place must obey the laws governing road traffic. If you are driving a tractor, you should keep left to let faster traffic pass. Your driving mirror must provide an adequate view of the road to the back. Do not carry a passenger unless the tractor is equipped to carry one.

    For further information contact the Road Safety Authority on Lo-Call 1890 50 60 80.

    LOCAL IMPROVEMENTS SCHEME (LIS): FARM ROAD WORKS

    County Councils have powers under the Local Government Act, 2001, to construct and improve non-public accommodation roads which provide access to parcels of land of which at least two are owned or occupied by different persons engaged in separate agricultural activities or provide access for harvesting purposes (including turf or seaweed) for two or more persons or shall in the opinion of the county council be used by the public.

    The administration of the LIS is delegated to the County Councils and accordingly the selection and prioritisation of the road projects to be funded under the scheme is entirely a matter for the County Councils, subject to the terms of the Departments "Local Improvements Scheme Memorandum, 2001". Beneficiaries are, between them, required to contribute a portion of the costs of the schemes. County Councils are responsible for the administration of the Scheme, the collection of the contribution and the selection and execution of eligible works.

    Requests for information, application forms etc., should, therefore, be addressed to the relevant Council.

    HEALTH AND SAFETY AUTHORITY

    Agriculture and construction remain amongst the top four most high-risk sectors of the Irish economy. Typically, these two sectors accounted for over 55% of all workplace fatalities in any year. Every year in the last decade there were on average 18 deaths on Irish farms. In the last 2 to 3 years over half the people killed on Irish farms were over 65 years of age. Many more people suffered serious injuries often leading to permanent disability.

    The HSA is determined to work in partnership with the farming community to reduce the number of fatalities and accidents on Irish farms. Good health and safety practice doesn't just happen, it demands time and effort but the rewards are great. Make sure that you give this important task the priority it deserves and let's all stay safe on the farm!

    The starting point for good health and safety management on a farm is the preparation of a safety statement or the completion of the Farm Safety Code of Practice where there are 3 or less employed on the farm. By law all farms must have a safety statement or a completed Code of Practice. This process identifies the hazards on a farm and spells out the steps that the farmer needs to take to reduce the risks. Failure to comply with this safety statement or code of practice requirement can result in prosecution.

    The Farm Safety Code of Practice was launched in 2006 and posted to every farm household. The Code of Practice contained three documents and an extensive farm safety DVD. The documents were a Code of Practice guidance document to be used as a reference document, a risk assessment document to be completed and signed by the farmer and an SSWP pictogram which is a risk assessment in pictogram form. This Safe System of Work Plan (SSWP) is designed to be used at least once per year to keep the documentation up to date.

    Farmers are encouraged to use the Farm Safety Code of Practice to manage farm safety or draft up a Safety Statement. Additional copies may be obtained from the Publications Section on the Health and Safety Authority website; www.hsa.ie . Also on this website farmers are encouraged to access and use the online risk assessment of the Farm Safety Code of Practice or simply go directly to www.farmsafely.com  

    Farmers are strongly encouraged to attend a half day training course on how to use this Farm Safety Code of Practice. These courses are provided by Teagasc and the ACA and all farmers (even those not clients of Teagasc) should contact their local Teagasc or ACA office and secure their place on the next available course.

    THE LAND REGISTRY

    The Land Registry has public offices in Dublin at Chancery Street, Dublin 7, and in Waterford, at Cork Road, Waterford.

    Since 4th November 2006, the Land Registry has been under the control of the Property Registration Authority. The Land Registry provides the first registration of all property in the State and registers subsequent dealings with the property. The Registry maintains registers of the ownership of freehold land, leasehold interests and other rights and burdens which may affect property.

    Chancery Street
    Lo-call 1890 333001 or Telephone 01 6707500
    General enquiries

    Waterford
    Lo-call 1890 333001 or Telephone 051 303000
    General enquiries

    Folios and Name Indexes for all counties can be inspected at Land Registry public offices. The Registry map, on which registered holdings are shown and on which rights such as rights of way are defined, can also be inspected and copy maps, showing particular plans, can be obtained.

    This information can also be accessed by account holders via the Land Registry's online service landdirect.ie. For further information on landdirect.ie please check the Land Registry website www.prai.ie.

    The registered owner may apply to inspect or obtain a copy of any document filed in the Land Registry under which a registration is made affecting his or her property.

    Under the terms of the Registration of Deeds and Title Act 2006, the Property Registration Authority ceased to issue or reissue Land Certificates as and from 1st January 2007.

    From 1 January 2010, all remaining Land Certificates not already cancelled will cease to have force or effect. Please see the Land Registry website www.prai.ie for further information.

    The Ground Rents Purchase Scheme is administered by the Land Registry in Chancery Street, Dublin 7 (Telephone 01 6707500 or Lo-call 1890 333001).

    Further information on the Land Registry can be obtained from the Land Registry website at www.prai.ie

    MET ÉIREANN

    Radio
    Detailed `live' weather broadcasts are made a number of times daily on RTÉ Radio 1. The broadcast at 07.55 covers the period out to 5 days ahead. Met Éireann forecasts are also included with News Bulletins on RTÉ Radio 1, RTÉ 2FM, Today FM, Newstalk 106 and most Local Radio stations.

    Television
    Met Éireann weather forecasts are presented on RTÉ 1 and RTÉ 2 several times daily, some of which coincide with the main news times. The presentation before 14.00 on Sunday provides a forecast for a week ahead and is geared primarily, towards farming. Most other television news summaries contain a brief weather forecast.

    Warnings
    Frost warnings for fruit-growers are included in April and May with the routine forecasts when necessary. Warnings of weather conditions suitable to the spread of potato blight are added to the main forecasts, when appropriate, between May and September. Warnings of conditions conducive to risk of forest fires are also issued as appropriate. Severe weather alerts are issued for very heavy rain (flooding), strong winds and snow.

    Weatherdial From Met Éireann
    For the latest weather information updated 3 times per day, everyday just call "1550 123" plus the number for your area:

    MUNSTER                                   850
    LEINSTER                                   851
    CONNACHT                                 852
    ULSTER                                      853
    DUBLIN                                       854
    SEA AREA/GALE WARNINGS     855

    Forecasts/charts/aviation products by fax. 1570 131 838
    (Dial from the tone phone attached to your fax machine)

    Calls cost €0.95 (voice) per min, €1.75 (fax). VAT incl.
    S.P: iTouch, 3050 Lake Drive, Citywest Digital Park, Co Dublin. Tel: 01 411 2021

    For specially tailored forecasts (chargeable): Tel: 01 8064255, Fax: 01 8064275.

    Newspapers
    A forecast for a week ahead, specially for farmers, is published in a number of national farming and provincial weekly newspapers.

    OFFICE OF THE REVENUE COMMISSIONERS

    TAX IMPLICATIONS OF THE SINGLE PAYMENT SCHEME

    The Single Payment is liable to tax as income. It will be taxed under Schedule D, either Case I or Case IV, depending on circumstances. Payment entitlement is a chargeable asset for capital gains purposes. Once acquired it may be disposed of by way of sale, gift etc. Accordingly, gains arising from transactions in payment entitlement will be chargeable to CGT in the normal manner.

    Transfers of payment entitlement whether by way of gift or inheritance are liable to capital acquisitions tax as any other asset and are subject to the normal capital acquisitions tax rules. Transfers of payment entitlement will however be recognised as transfers of agricultural property for the purpose of the capital acquisitions tax Agricultural Relief.

    While payment entitlement is intangible property for stamp duty purposes, section 101A of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 provides for an exemption from stamp duty on the sale, transfer or other disposition of payment entitlement. A Single Payment does not represent consideration for any supply between the farmer and the State and is, therefore, outside the scope of VAT. However, as payment entitlement is transferable either with or without land, there are situations in which a VAT liability will arise.

    INCOME TAX/CORPORATION TAX/CAPITAL GAINS TAX

    Profits, from the trade of farming and capital gains on the disposal of certain assets, are assessable to income tax and capital gains tax, respectively where the farmer is a sole trader. Such profits and gains are assessable to corporation tax in the case of farming companies, except, where the company disposes of development land, where the charge is to capital gains tax.

    AGRICULTURAL RELIEF FROM CAPITAL ACQUISITIONS TAX

    Section 89 of the Capital Acquisitions Tax Consolidation Act, 2003 Applicable to Both Gifts and Inheritance

    1. "Agricultural Property" is defined as "agricultural land, pasture and woodland situated in the State and crops, trees and underwood growing on such land and also includes such farm buildings, farm houses and mansion houses (together with the lands occupied therewith) as are of a character appropriate to the property, and farm machinery, livestock and bloodstock thereon, and a payment entitlement."
    2. For the purposes of the relief, a "farmer" means an individual in respect of whom not less than 80 per cent of the market value of the property owned by the individual consists of agricultural property in the State, after taking the gift or inheritance. No deduction is made from the market value of property for any debts or encumbrances except debts or encumbrances in respect of a dwelling- house, which is the only or main residence of the individual. The "80%" test does not apply in the case of agricultural property, which consists of trees and under-wood.
    3. For gifts and inheritance taken on or after 23 January 1997 the relief is calculated by reducing the market value of the "Agricultural Property" by a flat rate of 90%.
    4. The relief is withdrawn if the property is disposed of or compulsorily acquired within six years of the date of the gift/inheritance and the proceeds from such disposal or compulsory acquisition are not fully expended in acquiring other agricultural property within a year of the sale or within 6 years of the compulsory acquisition or if the beneficiary is not resident in the State for any of the three tax years immediately following the tax year in which the valuation date falls.

    An explanatory leaflet- (Agricultural Relief - CAT 5), which sets out full details is available from the Taxpayer's Local Revenue CAT Office

    STAMP DUTIES

    Stamp Duties are taxes chargeable on certain commercial and legal documents. Following the introduction of e-Stamping on 30 December 2009 a Stamp Certificate, issued by the Revenue Commissioners, is attached to the document to denote that it has been stamped. Previously duty was denoted by means of stamps impressed on the documents. Unless a deed transferring ownership is properly stamped, it cannot be relied upon to prove title to property. The stamp duties with which most people are familiar are the stamp duties payable on cheques, 50c, and the stamp duty payable on the sale of houses and land. There are always stamp duty implications to be considered whenever property, such as land and buildings, is transferred. Duty is charged on the price or consideration, paid for property or, in the case of a gift, its open market value. Where applicable VAT should be excluded from the chargeable consideration. The present rates of duty on the transfer on sale of property other than shares or marketable securities are:

    STAMP DUTY ON RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

    Aggregate Consideration exceeds €127,000  Rate  
    First €125,000
    Next €875,000
    Excess over €1,000,000
    Nil
    7%
    9%

    First Time Buyers are exempt from a charge to stamp duty when purchasing their principal place of residence (PPR).

    STAMP DUTY ON NON-RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY

    Aggregate Consideration  Rate 
    Not exceeding €10,000
    €10,001 - €20,000
    €20,001 - €30,000
    €30,001 - €40,000
    €40,001 - €70,000
    €70,001 - €80,000
    Over €80,000
    Exempt
    1%
    2%
    3%
    4%
    5%
    6% 

    Stamp Duty is also charged on the following:

    • Cheques at 50c per cheque;
    • ATM Cards at €5 per annum;
    • Debit Cards at €5 per annum;
    • Combined ATM/Debit Cards at €10 per annum;
    • Credit cards and charge cards at €30.

    When property is transferred within an immediate family (list available at http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/stamp-duty/index.html), stamp duty is payable but is charged at half the rate normally applying.

    To take an example: if a farmer transfers his/her farm having a non-residential open market value of €200,000 to his/her son/daughter as a gift, stamp duty is chargeable on €200,000 at an effective rate of 4.5% (as opposed to the 9% quoted in the rates).

    There is no stamp duty on property transferred by way of inheritances.

    Stamp duty is not chargeable on transfers of any property between spouses.

    Penalties apply if documents chargeable to stamp duty are not properly stamped on time.

    In general, there is no stamp duty on transfers of livestock and farm machinery but where such property is transferred together with lands, it can increase the amount of duty payable. For example, if a farmer buys a farm for €65,000, the deed of transfer will attract a charge to stamp duty at a non-residential rate of 4%, i.e. €2,600. However, if at the same time and as part of the farm purchase he/she also buys stock and machinery valued at, say €20,000 duty is then payable on €65,000 at 6% i.e. €3,900. This arises because the total consideration paid for the series of transactions is over €80,000.

    SITE TO CHILD RELIEF

    Section 83B of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act 1999 provides for an exemption from stamp duty on a transfer of a site, from parent to a child for the purposes of constructing the child's principal private residence. The maximum value of the site must not exceed €500,000 and the area of the site must not exceed .4047 hectare (1 acre).

    YOUNG TRAINED FARMER RELIEF

    Section 81AA of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act, 1999 provides for relief from stamp duty on the transfer, by way of gift or sale of agricultural land (including buildings) to young trained farmers who meet certain conditions. The relief applies to deeds executed on or after 2 April 2007 and on or before 31 December 2012.

    The relief does not apply to leases or where a power of revocation exists. The relief is by way of a 100% reduction in the stamp duty that would otherwise be payable. In order to qualify, the transferee must be a young trained farmer as defined in the Act. On the date on which the instrument was executed such persons must:

    • Be under 35 years of age;
    • Hold one of the qualifications as set out on the form SD2B (http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/stamp-duty/leaflets/sd2b.pdf) which is available from the Revenue Commissioners from any of the 3 offices listed below or on www.revenue.ie under the heading `Leaflets and Guides' - `Stamp Duty' - `SD 2B'; and
    • Furnish a declaration to the effect that he or she will, for a period of five years from the date of execution of the transfer:
      • Spend not less than 50% of his or her normal working time farming the land;
      • Retain ownership of the land;
      • Furnish his or her PPS number.

    In addition to these conditions, the deed of transfer must contain a certificate to the effect that the provisions of Section 81AA of the Stamp Duties Consolidations Act, 1999 apply to the transfer. The section also provides for refund of duty paid in a limited number of circumstances.

    FARM CONSOLIDATION RELIEF

    Section 81C of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act, 1999 contains the provisions relating to Farm Consolidation Relief. The purpose of the relief is to encourage the consolidation of farm holdings in order to reduce fragmentation and improve the operation and viability of the farm(s) concerned. The relief applies to instruments executed on or after 1 July 2007 and on or before 30 June 2011 ("the relevant period").

    The relief provides that where there is a valid consolidation certificate issued by Teagasc in relation to the sale and purchase of lands, occurring within 18 months of each other and within the relevant period, stamp duty will only be paid on the purchase to the extent that the value of the lands purchased exceeds the value of the lands sold. If the sale takes place before the purchase, then relief will be given at the time of purchase. However, if the purchase takes place first, then stamp duty must be paid, and on the subsequent sale a claim for repayment of the duty paid can be made. There must be no residential buildings on either the lands sold or purchased.

    The relief also applies to gifts and exchanges where the conditions of section 81C are satisfied.

    Adjudication is required where this relief is claimed.

    FAMILY FARM TRANSFERS

    Section 83B of the Stamp Duties Consolidation Act provides for an exemption from stamp duty for transfers of farmland from a child to a parent in the context of certain family arrangements to which the provisions of section 599 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 (as amended by section 52 of the Finance Act, 2007) apply for capital gains tax purposes. A child for the purposes of section 599 includes a child of a deceased child, certain nephews and nieces and foster children.

    Adjudication is required where this relief is claimed.

    Further information

    Further information may be obtained from the addresses and telephone numbers listed below. All leaflets/forms may also be downloaded from the Revenue website: www.revenue.ie.  

    Dublin Stamping District,
    Dublin Region,
    Stamping Building,
    Dublin Castle,
    Dublin 2.
    Lo-call: 1890 48 25 82

    Cork Stamp Duty Office,
    South West Region,
    Government Buildings,
    Sullivan's Quay,
    Cork.
    Tel (021) 60 27 000

    Galway Stamp Duty Office,
    Border Midlands West Region,
    Custom House,
    Flood Street,
    Galway.
    Tel (091) 54 77 00

    VALUE ADDED TAX

    Value-Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on consumer spending. VAT-registered traders collect it on their supplies of goods and services to their customers. Each such trader in the chain of supply from manufacturer through to retailer charges VAT on his/her taxable sales and is entitled to deduct from this amount the VAT paid on his/her business purchases (with some exceptions e.g. cars, petrol, meals and entertainment expenses).

    For VAT purposes, a `farmer' is a person who engages in agricultural production activities on land he/she owns or occupies in the State. Generally speaking, for VAT purposes, `agricultural production' refers to the production of agricultural goods (e.g. crop production, general stock farming, poultry farming, forestry and fisheries) and/or the supply of agricultural services (e.g. sowing and planting, crop spraying, harvesting, stock minding, rearing and fattening; and tree felling).

    VAT RATES

    A VAT-registered farmer is obliged to charge VAT at the appropriate rate on his/her supplies of taxable goods and services. The rates, which apply to various agricultural goods and services, are shown in the following table:

    VAT rate  Agricultural goods and services  
    Zero rate  Plants/seeds/bulbs for food production;
    Planting/sowing for food production. 
    4.8%  Live cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, deer, goats, greyhounds. 
    13.5%  Farm building work; land drainage and reclamation;
    Planting/sowing for other than food production; Crop spraying;
    Harvesting; Stock minding, rearing and fattening; Tree felling;
    Bovine semen; Seeds, bulbs, rhizomes and similar supplies used for the agricultural production of bio fuel crops. 
    21%  Hire of machinery; Leasing of milk quota (without land); Transport; Storage. 

    FARMERS - OBLIGATION TO REGISTER FOR VAT

    A farmer is obliged to register for VAT if his/her turnover from certain supplies exceeds, or is likely to exceed, the relevant threshold for those supplies in a continuous twelve month period. The supplies in question, together with the relevant turnover thresholds are as follows:

    1. Supplies of agricultural services (other than insemination services, stock minding or stock rearing) which exceed, or are likely to exceed €37,500;
    2. Supplies of livestock semen, other than to other farmers licensed as an A.I. centre, or to a person over whom the farmer exercises control, which exceed, or are likely to exceed €75,000;
    3. Supplies of retail horticultural products which exceed, or are likely to exceed €75,000;
      Note: Where the farmer's supplies consist of the services referred to in (a), as well as the goods referred to in (b) or (c), the relevant threshold is €37,500
    4. Intra-Community acquisitions1 which exceed, or are likely to exceed €41,000;
    5. Services received from outside the State2, regardless of their value;
    6. Supplies of taxable goods, other than agricultural goods, which exceed or are likely to exceed €75,000;
    7. Supplies of taxable services, other than agricultural services, which exceed or are likely to exceed €35,000.

    If a farmer is obliged to register in respect of services received from foreign suppliers (paragraph (e) refers), he/she must also account for VAT in respect of his/her intra-Community acquisitions (paragraph (d) refers), regardless of the value of the intra-Community acquisitions.

    If a farmer is obliged to register in respect of either his/her intra-Community acquisitions or services from foreign suppliers, such registration is effectively `ring-fenced' to the intra-Community acquisitions and/or the Fourth Schedule services. The farmer is not obliged to register in respect of his/her farming activities.

    Of course, where a farmer is obliged to register for VAT in respect of supplies of any other goods or services, as outlined in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (f) and (g) above, he/she must account for VAT in respect of all of his/her activities, including farming.

    FARMERS - OPTION TO REGISTER FOR VAT

    A farmer who is not obliged to register for VAT may opt to do so.

    If a farmer who has opted to register for VAT wishes subsequently to cancel his/her registration, he/she may do so by arrangement with his/her local Revenue district. However, this may give rise to recovery by Revenue of all or some of the net VAT repaid to the farmer during the period for which he/she opted to register.

    RECORDS AND RETURNS

    A VAT-registered farmer is obliged to keep records of purchases and sales so that he/she can complete bi-monthly VAT returns (i.e. January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/ October and November/December). A VAT return for each bi-monthly period is due on the 19th day of the month following the end of the relevant period. If VAT charged on sales exceeds VAT incurred on purchases, payment, as appropriate, should accompany the return. If VAT incurred on purchases exceeds VAT charged on sales, Revenue will refund the difference, as appropriate.

    1 'Intra-Community acquisitions' are goods purchased from VAT-registered traders in other EU Member States. For furthet details about intra-Community acquisitions in relation to farming activities, see Revenue's information leaflet, Farmers and Intra-EU Transactions (February 2010)

    There has been a change in VAT treatment of services received from abroad since 1 January 2010. The separate treatment of @Fourth Schedule Services' no longer applies and all services received from abroad are treated the same. For further details, see Revenue's information leaflet, New Intra-Community VAT Rules on Place of Supply of Services (December 2009)

    `FLAT-RATE ADDITION'

    Farmers who are not registered for VAT are not entitled to recover the VAT charged to them on their farming expenses (e.g. farm machinery, electricity etc). Generally speaking, such farmers are compensated for these VAT charges by means of a flat-rate amount (currently 5.2%) which is added to the prices at which they sell their products and services to VAT-registered persons (e.g. marts, agricultural co-operatives and meat factories). This compensatory amount is referred to as a 'flat-rate addition' and is not the same as the VAT rate applicable to farming activities. Farmers who are not registered for VAT, thus who are entitled to the payment of this flat-rate addition are referred to as 'flat-rate farmers'.

    For example: a flat-rate farmer sells a quantity of milk produced from his/her dairy herd to a VAT-registered agricultural co-operative for €1,000. The flat-rate addition at 5.2% is €52; the farmer charges the co-operative €1,052.

    VAT REFUNDS ON FARM BUILDINGS AND LAND DRAINAGE WORKS

    Generally speaking, a flat-rate farmer is entitled to a refund of VAT incurred by him/her in respect of expenditure on farm buildings and land drainage works for the purposes of his/her farming business.

    Claims for refund must be completed on the appropriate form (Form VAT 58). Single claims amounting to less than €125 are not admissible. However, such claims may be represented with other claims from the same claimant once the combined value of the total claim exceeds €125.

    Where the flat-rate farmer is registered for VAT in respect of intra-Community acquisitions and/or Fourth Schedule services only, he/she is still entitled to a refund of VAT incurred in respect of such works. However, rather than making a separate claim for refund, the refund must be claimed as a deduction from the amount of VAT payable by that farmer with his/her periodic VAT return.

    MILK PRODUCTION PARTNERSHIPS

    Any farmers thinking about establishing a Milk Production Partnership might find it useful to read Revenue's information leaflet, "VAT Issues for Milk Production Partnerships" (VAT No. 1/04).

    Further information may be obtained on this or any other matter from the Revenue website at www.revenue.ie or from your local Revenue district.

    TAXATION OF FARMING INCOME

    Profits from the trade of farming are, depending on the circumstances, assessable to income tax or to corporation tax. The following, which is based on the legislation in place at 30 July 2010, is a very brief description of some the more common provisions that impact on the taxation of farming income. Additional information is available from the Revenue website, www.revenue.ie or from your tax advisor.

    AVERAGING OF FARM PROFITS

    Certain farmers may elect to be charged to income tax on the basis of the averageof the aggregate farming profits and losses of the 3 years ending in a year of assessment rather than being charged to tax on their farming profits in the normal way (i.e. on the profits of a 12-month period ending in the year of assessment).

    ALLOWANCES FOR CAPITAL EXPENDITURE ON CONSTRUCTION OF FARM BUILDINGS AND OTHER WORKS

    Persons chargeable to tax on their farming profits may claim a farm buildings allowance for capital expenditure on the construction of farm buildings (other than buildings used as a dwelling) and certain other works. The cost is written off at the rate of 15% per annum in the first 6 years and 10% in year 7.

    ALLOWANCES FOR CAPITAL EXPENDITURE ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF FARM BUILDINGS, ETC FOR CONTROL OF POLLUTION

    This scheme applies to certain expenditure incurred between 6 April 1997 and 31 December 2010, inclusive.

    For expenditure incurred on or after 1 January 2005 the allowances are given over 3 years in equal amounts although a person may elect for alternative treatment, which allows for an acceleration of the allowances during that 3-year period.

    RELIEF FOR CERTAIN INCOME FROM LEASING OF FARMLAND

    Certain income arising from the leasing of farmland is exempt from income tax.

    The first €12,000 of annual leasing income is exempt where the lease is for a term of at least 5 years, €15,000 where the lease is for a term of at least 7 years and €20,000 where the lease is for a term of at least 10 years (these amounts may vary depending on when the lease was made).

    The lessor must be aged 40 years or over or be permanently incapacitated, because of mental or physical infirmity, from carrying on farming. Leases between close relatives do not qualify.

    STOCK RELIEF - GENERAL

    Stock relief is a deduction from farm trading income of 25% of the increase in the value of trading stock in an accounting period. The relief may not be used to create or augment a loss and must be claimed on or before the return filing date for the period to which it relates. It is only available in the case of a company for accounting periods ending on or before 31 December 2010 and in any other case for years of assessment up to and including 2010.

    STOCK RELIEF - YOUNG TRAINED FARMERS

    This provides for an enhanced rate of stock relief of 100% rather than 25% for four years. It applies to farmers who become "qualifying farmers", i.e. farmers who are under 35 years of age and who meet certain training requirements, on or before 31 December 2010.

    COMPULSORY DISPOSALS OF LIVESTOCK

    This scheme applies to profits accruing on the disposal of stock under statutory disease eradication measures.

    A farmer may elect to exclude such profits in computing income for the accounting period in which the disposal takes place, in which case they are deemed to arise in equal instalments in each of the next 4 accounting periods (or, if the farmer wishes, in the period in which they arise and the following 3 periods).

    Also, the farmer may be entitled to stock relief of 100% in the 4-year deferral period.

    The option to defer does not apply where a permanent discontinuance of the farming trade occurs.

    MILK QUOTA

    Capital allowances are available on expenditure incurred on the purchase of milk quota. The allowances are granted on a straight-line basis over a 7-year period. The normal balancing allowance or charge provisions apply where the quota is sold or otherwise disposed of.

    TAXATION OF STALLION PROFITS AND GAINS

    Since 1 August 2008, stallions are treated as stock in trade. This means that income from stud fees and profits or gains from the sale of stallions is taxable in the normal manner (a previous exemption ended on 31 July 2008).

    PROFITS FROM THE OCCUPATION OF CERTAIN WOODLANDS

    Profits or gains from the commercial occupation of woodlands in the State are exempt from income tax and corporation tax.

    Notwithstanding the exemption, details of all such profits, gains and losses must be included in the annual return of income. The normal rules relating to the keeping of records and the making available of those records for inspection by Revenue also apply.

    The Guidelines for the preparation of a Farm N.M.P. may be obtained from the Department's local Agricultural, Environmental and Structures (AES) Offices (see list of AES offices at Appendix 1B).

    Further information in relation to the provision of Section 659 of the Taxes Consolidation Act, 1997 may be obtained from the local Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

    ORDNANCE SURVEY IRELAND

    Ordnance Survey Ireland offers for sale a wide range of mapping in both a digital and paper format. Of principal interest to the farming community are our large scale maps of rural areas - these maps are at a scale of 1:2500/ 1:5000 for rural and semi-rural areas and at 1:10,000 scale for mountainous regions. Aerial photography and orthophotography are products which can also be used as an information source to the farming community; Ordnance Survey Ireland from its sales offices in Phoenix Park can supply national coverage of Aerial photography and orthography taken in 1995 (B/W) and 2000 (Colour) and 2005 (Colour).

    Mapping can be supplied by Ordnance Survey Ireland and its network of agents as standard sheets or as a site centred on-demand service, in either a digital or paper form.

    Options include:

    • Any scale;
    • Paper plots or in a variety of digital format;
    • Composite maps;
    • Paper size A4 to A0;
    • Selected themes for digital products;
    • Planning Packs.

    By June 2010 Ordnance Survey Ireland will have available for purchase and downloadable planning maps at www.osi.ie.

    Historic 6 inch and 25 inch maps are also available, however the 6-inch maps do not show land parcels. Historic maps can be viewed via the free view OSi map browser on its corporate website www.osi.ie, images can also purchased and downloaded as pdf's

    DIGITAL MAP DATA

    Both Digital Image data (raster) and Digital Feature data (vector) are available in a number of industry standard formats and are supplied on a variety of media options. Digital vector and raster data can be tailored to customer's specifications. Ordnance Surveys Irelands Place Map agents network will be able to supply mapping in digital format. Digital mapping can also be purchased from Ordnance Survey Ireland main sales office in Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ordnance Surveys Irelands Place Map agents network or on-line at www.osi.ie.

    AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

    National coverage at 1:30,000 and 1:40,000 photo-scale is available. This photography was taken in 1995 and 2000 and during 2005/06; other selected areas are also available ranging from 1:5000 to 1:20,000 photo-scale. Aerial Photography is available as prints in both black and white and colour. National coverage at 1:30,000 and 1:40,000 photo-scale is available on the OSi website to view via the map browser service , images can also be purchased on-line. Lower flown photography is only available from Ordnance Survey Irelands mapshop in Phoenix Park, Dublin.

    ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTS, WIND MAP INFORMATION

    Ordnance Survey Ireland offers for sale on it website site centred environmental reports, wind maps and land registration maps - these products can be accessed via the main page on the Ordnance Survey Ireland corporate website where a full explanation of these products can be obtained.

    HOW TO GET ORDNANCE SURVEY MAPS

    There are Ordnance Survey Place Map agents in Dublin, Mullingar, Waterford, Kilkenny, Killarney, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Cavan, Athlone and Swords where mapping in both a paper or digital format can be purchased, many of these agents accept orders by telephone and fax. Failing this, mapping may be obtained from Ordnance Survey Ireland, Phoenix Park, Dublin. Tel: 01 8025349, Fax: 01 8220979. When ordering large scale maps - 1:1000, 1:2500, 1:5000, 25 inch or 6 inch scale maps, it is necessary to state the position of the holding or other features which the map is covering, preferably by specifying the townland the holding is in. Alternatively many OSi products can be purchased and downloaded from the Ordnance Survey website in these circumstances one can locate a holding by either searching by address, townland or alternatively using the map browser to pan and zoom to a location.

    Ordnance Survey Ireland Tourist and Leisure product range can be purchased on-line from our on-line map shop www.irishmaps.ie and from all good book shops.

    More information regarding our products and services can be obtained from our website www.osi.ie or by contacting our Mapsales Department , Tel: 01 8025349.

    The names and addresses of our Place Map agents can be obtained on our website or by ringing our reception area in Phoenix Park. Tel: 01 8025300

    DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL PROTECTION

    FARM ASSIST SCHEME

    What is Farm Assist?
    Farm Assist is a weekly means-tested payment for low-income farmers.

    Who can qualify for Farm Assist?
    You will qualify if you:

    • Are a farmer;
    • Are aged between 18 and 66 years;
    • Satisfy a means test.

    How does the means test work?
    To qualify for Farm Assist, you must satisfy a means test, that is, your means must be below a certain level.

    Your means include:

    • Any income you or your spouse/partner have;
    • Property which you or your spouse/partner have (except your home);
    • Other asset(s) which could provide you with an income.

    How much can I get?
    If you qualify, your payment will comprise a personal rate for yourself with extra amounts for a qualified adult and child dependants. Your weekly rate of payment is calculated by subtracting your weekly means assessment from the maximum rate of Farm Assist payable to you if you had no means.

    The weekly rates of Farm Assist are:

      € 
    Maximum Personal Rate  196.00
    Qualified Adult Allowance (*) 130.10
    Each Child Dependant Full Rate (**)29.80
    Half Rate14.90

    Note:

    1. (*) A Qualified Adult allowance is not payable if your spouse/partner is getting a Social Welfare payment or HSE payment or on a full-time VTOS or FAS training course and getting an allowance. However, if your spouse/partner is on half rate carers allowance a full qualified adult allowance is payable.
    2. (**) An increase of €29.80 is payable for each qualified child dependant if you are in receipt of an increase for a qualified adult. Where you do not qualify for such an increase, half rate child dependant increases is payable for qualified children.

    How is it paid?
    If you qualify, payment will be made on a weekly basis. Payment is made into your local post Office.

    How do I apply?
    You may apply for Farm Assist by completing the application form, FARM 1, which is available from:

    • Your Social Welfare Local Office
    • The Department's Lo-call Leaflet Line - 1890 20 23 23
    • Available to download from www.welfare.ie  

    For more information on Farm Assist contact your Social Welfare Local Office (see local telephone directory for details). Information is also available on the Department of Social and Family Affairs website, www.welfare.ie

    Contributions Payable
    From 1 January 2007 self-employed Farm Assist customers may be liable to pay PRSI contributions on their self employed income. A self-employed Farm Assist customer who does not have a liability to pay PRSI may become a voluntary contributor if they meet certain conditions.

    For further details contact Voluntary Contributions Section, Department of Social and Family Affairs, Social Welfare Services, Cork Road, Waterford Tel: 051 356000

    PRSI FOR FARM SPOUSES

    Farm Spouses and PRSI: The Current General Position
    Spouses of a self-employed contributor are specifically excepted from social insurance contributions. This exclusion recognises the practical difficulties in establishing the nature of a genuine employment relationship in circumstances such as when a person employed under a contract of service (i.e. as an employee) by his or her spouse is classed as an `excepted' contributor under social welfare law. As a result, farming spouses can only pay PRSI if they are involved in one of three scenarios.

    Firstly, spouses who are actively engaged in a commercial partnership (as opposed to simply being the joint owners of a property) are treated as individual self-employed contributors and are thus liable to social insurance contributions. These contributions - made under PRSI Class S - enable them to build up an insurance record in their own right and to receive accruing benefits. A partnership is commonly understood to be an association of two or more persons for the purpose of gain or of sharing in the work and profits of an enterprise. Liability for PRSI contributions is not contingent on the ownership of property but rather on the nature of the business arrangements between the couple. Co-ownership of property does not in itself create a partnership.

    Secondly, where a family business in incorporated as a limited company, spouses involved in the business can establish a social insurance record as either employees or as self-employed contributors - depending on whether a contract of service exists.

    Thirdly, it is known that persons engaged in farming are increasingly taking up `off-farm' employment. This enables farming spouses who might otherwise not be insured to develop a social insurance record on the basis of their `off-farm' earnings. Also, farming spouses who were previously employed are able to maintain their social insurance coverage in the long-term by contributing to the voluntary PRSI contribution scheme.

    The legislation that exempts spouses who assist in family enterprises, such as farming, from liability to social insurance has been the subject of review on a number of occasions. In 2002, and in recognition of the need to consider the more specific issue of social insurance contributions for farm spouses, an inter-Departmental group chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development was convened. It concluded that "... the formation of business partnerships offers an immediate route of access to social insurance cover as it is based on existing legislation. Such arrangements would not impose any significant additional administration costs on farm business: for example, couples who are liable for income tax under joint or separate assessment will continue to make one income tax return each year, the only change being that the income of the farm enterprise will be apportioned in accordance with the partnership arrangements..."

    More recently, in 2005, the 'Fully-Inclusive Social Insurance Model' (FISIM) group, established under the 'Programme for Prosperity and Fairness' - and re-established under the 'Sustaining Progress' national agreement - to examine measures aimed at developing a fully-inclusive social insurance model noted the significance of the partnership option to enable farm workers and, in particular, spouses, to build a social insurance record in their own right. It recommended that more information on the tax and social welfare implications of working in a partnership or limited company be made available to self-employed families through a joint leaflet formulated and published by both the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and this Department.

    Current legislative provisions in this area mirror similar exclusions in employment protection legislation enshrined by the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997, and the National Minimum Wage Act, 2000.

    There are currently no plans to change the existing provisions.

    FARM PARTNERSHIP

    Where a genuine partnership exists on a farm, both spouses can be considered to be in insurable self-employment individually for the purposes of Pay-Related Social Insurance (PRSI). Once each partner's income from the farm enterprise exceeds a threshold of €3,174 per year, this income would be reckonable for PRSI purposes and contributions would be payable at a rate of 3%, or €253 per annum, whichever is greater, where income is below €26,000 per annum and at a rate of 5% of all income otherwise (i.e. includes the Health Contribution).

    Income below the €3,174 threshold in any year would not give rise to a contribution liability. The individual would cease to be insured in respect of that year (subject to certain conditions, a person in such circumstances could apply to become a voluntary contributor to retain social insurance cover). Earlier or subsequent contributions would, of course, continue to be reckonable for PRSI Class S benefits and pensions.

    What is a partnership?
    A partnership is the relationship that exists between persons carrying on a business in common with a view to making a profit. The receipt of a share of the profits by a person can be considered to be evidence that the person concerned is a partner in a business.

    • The Partnership must be genuine and supported by appropriate documentary evidence such as the existence of joint business accounts with banks, etc. There should also be evidence that business activities are in joint names - including invoices, mart, creamery accounts, cash-and-carry accounts, farm grant applications, herd numbers, business insurance policies, etc.
    • The most important indicator of the existence of a business partnership is the sharing of profits (or losses). The Income Tax returns of each partner showing his or her share of the profits should be available. In the case of married couples who are making income tax returns under joint or separate assessment, the income of each must be shown.
    • The Income Tax returns should be correctly made on a current year basis - applications for the backdating of partnership status are not accepted.

    PRSI contributions are calculated on the basis of income details contained in Income Tax returns.

    It is recommended that individuals who wish to enter into a partnership agreement should seek legal advice before doing so.

    What are the Benefits?
    PRSI Class S covers a contributor for the following benefits:

    • The State Pension (Contributory) - formerly known as the Old Age (Contributory) Pension;
    • The Widow's and Widower's (Contributory) Pension;
    • Maternity Benefit;
    • Adoptive Benefit;
    • The Guardian's Payment (Contributory) - formerly known as the Orphan's (Contributory) Allowance; and
    • The Bereavement Grant - formerly known as the Death Grant.

    Note: The schemes and programmes administered by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food do not present an obstacle to the formation of single-farm business partnerships.

    For further information on these matters, please contact the Information Service of the Department of Social and Family Affairs, Aras Mhic Dhiarmada, Store Street, Dublin 1 - tel: 01-704-3274; email: info@welfare.ie; website: www.welfare.ie.

    RURAL SOCIAL SCHEME (RSS)

    AIM OF THE SCHEME

    The aims of the scheme are to provide income support for farmers and fisherpersons who are currently in receipt of specified Social Welfare payments, and to provide certain services of benefit to rural communities such as environmental maintenance, energy conservation, social care and care of the elderly by harnessing the skills and talents available among the farmers and fisherpersons.

    WORK UNDERTAKEN ON THE RSS

    All of the work undertaken by Participants on the Rural Social Scheme will be beneficial to the local community. The types of projects carried out are likely to include:

    • Maintaining and enhancing waymarked ways, agreed walks and bog roads;
    • Energy conservation work for the elderly and less well off;
    • Village and countryside enhancement projects;
    • Social care and care of the elderly, community care for both pre-school and after-school groups;
    • Environmental maintenance work - maintenance and caretaking of community and sporting facilities;
    • Projects relating to not for profit cultural and heritage centres;
    • Community Administration/Clerical Duties; and
    • Any other appropriate community project identified during the course of the Scheme.

    Please Note: The above categories of projects are kept under review.

    WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

    The scheme is aimed, primarily, at farmers and fisherpersons who are in receipt of certain specified Social Welfare payments.

    To be eligible to participate on the RSS, a person must be in receipt of Farm/Fish Assist,or
    Meet the eligibility criteria set for either a farmer or a fisherperson, and be in receipt of one of the qualifying payments from the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

    Exceptions to the above eligibility criteria may apply primarily in the case of a child/sibling or a dependent spouse of an eligible person. Details of full eligibility criteria, including the qualifying Social Welfare payments and any other information required can be obtained from any of the Local Development Companies or Údarás na Gaeltachta (i.e. the Implementing Bodies) as they manage the Scheme at a local level, on behalf of the Department of Social Protection.

    TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE RSS

    Participants will work 19.5 hours per week on a farmer/fisherperson-friendly schedule subject to the requirements of the project they are working on. Annual Leave entitlement will be calculated in accordance with the terms of the Organisation of Working Time Act, 1997. Participants on the RSS will be permitted to undertake additional employment subject to remaining within the income threshold which applies to their underlying Social Welfare payment. Earnings in excess of that income threshold may affect their continued participation on the RSS. Participation on the RSS is not intended to be on a permanent basis and is reviewed annually in April.

    How much will participants be paid on the RSS?

    The rate of payment on the RSS is based upon the qualifying Social Welfare payment along with family circumstances. The following table details the maximum value of the total weekly payment:

    Participant Category  Total Weekly Payment 
    Participant without Adult Dependant
    Participant with Adult Dependant
    Each Child Dependant (Full-Rate)
    Each Child Dependant (Half-Rate) 
    €216.00
    €346.10
    €29.80
    €14.90

    Note: These rates are correct with effect from 4th January 2010

    In some cases, depending on the qualifying Social Welfare payment, RSS Participants cease to be clients of the Department of Social and Family Affairs and are paid solely by the RSS in respect of their RSS participation. In other cases, Participants will continue to receive their qualifying Social Welfare payment from the Department of Social and Family Affairs and in addition receive a top-up payment from the RSS.

    Any change in circumstances may affect a Participant's rate of pay and the onus rests with the Participant to inform their Implementing Body of any such changes as soon as they arise.

    As the Rural Social Scheme is administered on a local level, enquiries should in all instances be directed to the relevant Implementing Body (Local Development Company or Údarás na Gaeltachta).

    Further details on the Rural Social Scheme and the contact details for all Implementing Bodies may be obtained by phoning 01-4484841.

    WESTERN DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION (WDC)

    The WDC was established as a statutory agency in 1999 to promote and encourage economic and social development in the Western Region comprising the counties of Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Mayo, Galway and Clare.

    Strategic Aims
    The five strategic goals of the WDC are:

    • Contribute to balanced regional development by ensuring that the western region maximises its full potential for economic and social development;
    • Promote the benefits of living, working and doing business in the west;
    • Support the sustainable economic and social development of the rural economy;
    • Provide risk capital to SMEs and social enterprises through the WDC Investment Fund;
    • Operate the WDC as a competent and effective organisation.

    Further information can be obtained from the Western Development Commission, Dillon House, Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, Website: www.wdc.ie Tel: 094 9861441 Email: info@wdc.ie