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Farmers give thumbs down to new taxes


Any move to introduce a capital gains, land or environment tax will meet stiff opposition from farmers, a Federated Farmers survey shows.

The Federation asked its members for their views last month, to help inform the farmer group’s submission to the Tax Working Group. The nearly 1,400 responses indicated strong opposition to some of the new taxes that have been suggested.

Just on 81 percent opposed a capital gains tax excluding the family home, with 11 percent in support. However, 47 percent would support a CGT on property sold within a five year ‘bright line’ test. There is currently a two-year threshold, and the measure is seen by some as a way of discouraging speculators.

"Farmer opposition is even more entrenched on the idea of a land tax, excluding under the family home, with 91 percent against and only 2 percent in favour," Federated Farmers Economics and Commerce spokesperson Andrew Hoggard said.

"A land tax would be punitive and inequitable on farming. The strong opposition to it in last month’s survey mirrors its utter rejection by rural New Zealand the last time our tax system was reviewed, in 2010," Andrew said.

Some 82 percent of respondents opposed environmental taxation but there was minority support if such taxes were used to fund on-farm environmental initiatives.

Tax incentives for those who invested in environment -related on-farm investments drew 84 percent support.

"Just on12% supported a ‘progressive company tax’ (i.e., a lower rate for small companies), with 26% opposed and 55% thinking ‘maybe’ depending on what is considered ‘small’. There was a lot of concern about compliance implications," Andrew said.

Meanwhile, 66% opposed exempting basic items, such as food, from GST, with 29% supporting.

"Federated Farmers will be sending in a comprehensive submission to the Tax Working Group, which will pick up on the concerns and comments raised in our member survey.

"But we also encourage individual farmers to have their say direct to the TWG by April 30. This is an issue vital to all New Zealanders," Andrew said.
ENDS

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