I propose to take Questions Nos. 175, 178, 179, 182, 183, 185, 210 and 211 together.
I am advised by Revenue that the VAT rating of goods and services is subject to EU VAT law, with which Irish VAT law must comply. Farmers may elect to register for VAT or be treated as flat-rate farmers for VAT purposes. Farmers that are registered for VAT have an entitlement to reclaim VAT charged on costs incurred in relation to the farm business, including VAT borne on the purchase of agricultural equipment and non-oral animal medicines. Farmers that are not registered for VAT are compensated for the VAT incurred on goods and services used in the course of their farming business, through the flat rate addition they receive on payments for their supplies of agricultural produce and services.
In accordance with Irish VAT legislation, slurry-spreading equipment is liable to VAT at the standard rate, currently 23%, and there is no discretion, under the Directive, to reduce this VAT rate as suggested by the Deputy. The supply of non-oral animal medicines is subject to the standard rate of VAT, currently 23%, but it is not possible, under the Directive, to exempt the supply of these goods as suggested by the Deputy.
I am further advised by Revenue that the information provided on tax returns does not require the VAT charged or paid on individual products or activities to be separately identified. Therefore, the amount of VAT paid (or refunded) in relation to any specific product or activity, or the cost of exempting specific products or activities from VAT is not separately available. Furthermore, the measure to allow for accelerated capital allowances for the purchase of farm safety equipment was only introduced in 2021 for which income tax returns are not due until late 2022.
Revenue inform me that the number of live VAT registrations in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector is 12,700. This does not include taxpayers involved in the farming sector who may be classified under a different sector due to engaging in other activities in addition to farming. As set out in Revenue’s farming statistics reports, available at www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/documents/research/farming-profile-2020.pdf, these VAT registered cases form a small proportion of the total of some 148,000 farmers registered with Revenue for tax purposes.