Experienced agricultural accountancy firm offers topical tips for farmers

Chartered accountant Patricia Arnold
Chartered accountant Patricia Arnold

“Do you run your farm through a limited company?” is just one of the questions posed by Patricia Arnold who works with farmers across Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria.

Now into winter, with longer nights and shorter days offering the opportunity for farmers to dedicate a little more time to their business plans, Patricia highlights the topics farmers need to address to protect their farming heritage for the next generation.

The Hexham-based accountancy firm Patricia J Arnold & Co Ltd, who this year celebrates 30 years in business, recommends that farmers ask some probing questions to ensure that they are obtaining the best possible tax benefits. For example if a farmhouse is worth in excess of £500,000, farmers will not have to pay tax under Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED), but they will need to claim exemption, and that exemption needs to be submitted by the beginning of the next tax year to prevent any penalties being applied.

Chartered accountant Patricia says: “Many farmers and farm businesses employ family members, which can possibly lead to a more relaxed approach to tax issues and paperwork. Now is the time for farmers to assess all options open to them to ascertain the best approach.”

Patricia also suggests the farmer ensures their appointed accountant is familiar with farming acronyms such as CAAV, LFA, IAPA NVZ and CSF which are so frequently bandied about! Does your accountant know what all the acronyms mean?

“It is essential that farmers receive the best possible advice and guidance, especially on planning points such as, ‘do you have disused farm buildings on your farm?’ If you do, it might be worth checking your postcode to see if you are entitled to Business Renovation Allowance. This is a very valuable relief available if commercial premises have not been out of use for some time. If you qualify, the whole of the cost of renovation can be claimed against your other taxable income, which is particularly useful to know.”

Equally farmers may not be aware, if they are trying a new feeding, grazing or planting regime, they could well find that R & D tax relief and tax credits apply. Most small businesses will get 150% of expenditure against taxable income, and if they were to actually make a loss, HMRC will give a tax refund.

Patricia urges all farmers to review their tax situation to ensure that they are receiving all the benefits and entitlements open to them. It is certainly worth asking the questions as there could be money available, of which they are unaware.

For any further advice or assistance you can call Patricia on 01434 606624.