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O'Loan Discovers That Department Is Considering Taxing Agricultural Land

by Carla Johnson, Investors Offshore.com, London

30 October 2007


SDLP MLA Declan O’Loan suggested at the weekend that the Department of Finance in Northern Ireland is currently considering the taxation of agricultural land.

Mr O'Loan reportedly obtained this information in a response to a written question, following some discussion of the matter at the Assembly Committee for Finance and Personnel.

Mr. O’Loan announced that: “I think that this will come as an absolute shock to the whole farming and rural development sector."

He continued: "I have never before heard any suggestion that the rating system might be extended to agricultural land. But there is no doubt that it is now under serious consideration. I welcome the frankness and clarity of the answer, but the message from it is very clear.”

“I do not believe that the incomes available from agricultural land are such that taxation of land can be considered."

"The role of farmers in maintaining and protecting our landscape is now clearly recognised to the extent that EU payments are available to them for this purpose. To tax that same land that is subject to subsidy for environmental reasons would be absurd.”

Mr. O'Loan concluded by stating that: “The whole agricultural sector needs to address itself to this threat before it develops any further. I believe that this suggestion should be dropped from the current review of the rating system.”


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