There was a very welcome decision in Budget 2015 for forest owners – Forestry clear-felling income is to be tax-free as the “high earners restriction” of €80,000 for active foresters and farmers has been ended.
Simon Coveney, the agriculture minister, said: “Forestry plays a huge role environmentally, economically, and socially in rural areas; and I believe the benefits of this change will be felt long into the future.”
He noted that, in advance of the budget, farmers had sought income averaging over three or five years. “Instead of that, Revenue has said it is easier to remove the high earners restriction for active forestry farmers, so clear-felling is exempt. That goes beyond the expectations and asks of the forestry sector. We need more forestry, planting, and trees and this will be a big incentive to do that.”
Western Forestry Co-op, IFFPA, the IFA and ICMSA have all welcomed the move to make clear-felling income tax-free as forestry is now recognised as an important economic sector in rural Ireland which has really begun to take off among the latest generation of young farmers who see it as a valuable addition to their farm enterprise as well as a secure pension plan for them and their families.