WITH the vast majority of Limerick dairy farmers supplying Kerry, news that Revenue is demanding tax arrears on patronage shares from 2011 to 2013 has caused confusion and consternation. The sums involved could run to millions.
Deputy Niall Collins and other Fianna Fail TDs – John Brassil, Michael Moynihan, Aindrias Moynihan – met last week morning on the matter and it was later raised by Deputy Collins in the Dail under topical issues.
“This is a bombshell out of left field. Farmers have just endured a milk price crisis for two years. They have financial commitments for the next number of years based on their income projection and cash flow. We met as a group of Fianna Fail TDs with a high concentration of Kerry suppliers in our constituencies.
"We are contacting Revenue and asking them to come and meet us urgently to discuss the situation,” said Mr Collins.
The issue was sure to be a hot topic at Monday’s ICMSA AGM in the Castletroy Park Hotel.
ICMSA president, John Comer, said they have received many calls from hugely concerned farmers regarding what he said could only be described as “this out of the blue” tax demand from Revenue.
He said the receipt of these demands coming in the wake of one of the longest and deepest farmer milk price depressions in decades is causing massive anxiety amongst farmers, many of whom have only just paid income tax due on 2015 – another year in which they received a milk price below the cost of production.
Mr Comer confirmed ICMSA is currently examining the position and will be seeking further clarification from Revenue given the very serious consequences for individual farmers.