Social and economic changes in Ireland in recent times have resulted in more farm transfers taking place during an owner’s lifetime rather than on the death of an owner. It is a very personal decision, and every family has a different set of circumstances. It is always better to have a plan in place which your solicitor can help you with. By not having one, it can be difficult if the transfer is unplanned, through illness for example.  

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Key Considerations

There are a number of complex issues involved so apart from your solicitor’s help, communication and family involvement in planning for succession is essential. Issues to be addressed usually include;  

  • The family home is normally inseparable from the business.  
  • A number of family members/ siblings/ children to be catered for fairly  
  • If the transfer is during the owner’s lifetime, the owner will require an income, as well as the recipient depending on the circumstances.  

Other questions you may need to ask yourself if transferring a farm are - if there is a potential  
successor do they have the skills, abilities, knowledge and desire to successfully operate a sophisticated farm business in today’s agricultural economy? If there is no successor, what are the options? Is selling part or all of the farm assets an option?  

If a farm is to be transferred to you, you may have to pay some tax. One of these taxes is stamp duty. Young Trained Farmers can avail of an exemption from stamp duty on transfers to them before the 31st December 2021 (this date has been extended previously and may be extended again). In order for a young trained farmer to benefit from this exemption, there are a number of criteria to be met. If the farm is transferred as a gift, Capital Acquisitions Tax applies. There are schemes available for farm transfers. The Succession Farm Partnership Scheme effectively gives a farmer and their successor a tax incentive where the farmer and successor enter an approved partnership which culminates in the transfer of at least 80% of the farm assets to the successor.   

Farm transfers may not always involve family members, you can choose to transfer entitlements to another farmer. Entitlements are a monetary asset and under the Basic Payment Scheme they can be transferred with or without land. Basic Payment Scheme Entitlements may only be transferred to an active farmer in the same member state, except in the case of inheritance. 

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Other Transfer Tips

Other useful tips to keep in mind when engaging in a farm transfer include;  

  • Completing a financial analysis of the past and present farm business along with some financial projections  
  • Considering holding a family business meeting to give everyone an opportunity to voice  
    their interests and concerns, providing copies of a plan to family members may even help to create an atmosphere of openness.  
  • Preparing a legal will early to provide guidance on how the estate will be divided  
  • Considering the tax implications.  

It is advisable to consult your farm transfer solicitor at an early stage to discuss your plans so that you can be well informed of your options. Your convenience is important to us and we aim to minimise the amount of time you have to spend on the process. We offer video calls to save you from travelling to meet us and you can meet us at times convenient to you. When documents need to be signed we can come to meet you at your home.  

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Call us Now on 061 513113, email or complete our Free Online Enquiry form for a free, no-obligation discussion and let us explain your legal options

James Shanahan

Solicitor, Head of Department

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