The current Afforestation Scheme provides grants that cover the full cost of establishment of the plantation and payment of annual premiums to incentivise planting. The contract for establishing a forest on a specific area is signed between the owner(s) of the land and my Department. There is no third-party involvement in afforestation contracts.
Applicants may mandate that grant payments (not premiums) be paid to a registered forester or forestry company using a mandate document that satisfies the requirements as set out in the Forestry Standards and Procedures Manual. Such mandates are a voluntary arrangement between the applicant and his/her registered forester or company and do not form part of the afforestation contract. The applicant remains the beneficiary of the grant.
It is a condition of this Scheme that all grant-aided activities shall be conducted in compliance with the laws of the State relating, inter alia, to tax and employment. Proof of compliance, such as the provision of Tax Clearance Certificates, may therefore be required. Tax Clearance is always required if the applicant is in receipt of grants, subsidies or similar type payments from a government department or public authority of €10,000 or more during a 12-month period, in accordance with Revenue Circular 44/2006.
It should also be noted that the sale of timber / biomass is exempt from Income Tax.