Written Answers. - Stamp Duty Relief.

Michael Ahern

Ceist:

146 Mr. M. Ahern asked the Minister for Finance the plans, if any, he has to extend stamp duty relief which became available in 1994 to qualifying farming transferees on the transfer of lands, which is due to cease on 31 December 1996. [16757/96]

The 1994 Finance Act provided for this very generous stamp duty relief, which costs the Exchequer approximately £4 million annually, in respect of transfers of agricultural land and buildings to young trained farmers. The relief involves a two-thirds reduction in the stamp duty that would otherwise be payable, and applies in respect of transfers occurring between 7 January 1994 and 31 December 1996. The relief has greatly improved the climate for land transfer, and complements the EU farmers retirement scheme in facilitating lifetime transfer to young farmers.

However, a principal rationale for the relief is that it is a temporary measure designed to encourage early transfers of lands. At this stage it is not intended, therefore, to extend the relief beyond the end of this year.