Dáil Éireann - Volume 588 - 29 June, 2004

Written Answers. - Stamp Duty.

  144. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if he will consider an abatement of stamp duty to encourage farmers to swap land, with no or little cash changing hands, to facilitate consolidation of fragmented holdings into workable units. [19528/04]

  Mr. McCreevy:Stamp duty is a tax on documents, mostly legal documents, used in the transfer of property. When a property is purchased or swapped, stamp duty is paid on the document that transfers ownership. Stamp duty is a significant contributor to the Exchequer. Its receipts allow for a broader tax base than would otherwise be possible and form an important element of State revenues.

The stamp duty code contains a significant exemption for transfers of land to young trained farmers, under the age of 35 years, provided they have attained relevant educational qualifications. It encourages the more productive use of agricultural land. In the 2004 Finance Act I updated the list of educational qualifications and made certain changes to the standards that must be attained in order to qualify for the exemption.

The proposal suggested by the Deputy would narrow the tax base. It would also inevitably lead to calls for other concessions to be introduced into the stamp duty code. I do not intend to introduce an abatement.