Transfer of Entitlement Service launched

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The 2018 Basic Payment Scheme Transfer of Entitlement Service opened on Thursday 1 March 2018 the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has announced.

This service can be used for straightforward entitlement transfers (sale, gift or lease) from one farm business to another, with no business change or inheritance involved. It is a convenient and easy to use service which, if approved, automatically transfers entitlements without the need to complete a paper application form and wait for a decision to confirm if the transfer has been successful.

The deadline for transferring entitlements is midnight on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.

Farmers can now check the new online entitlement register which displays the most up-to-date information that DAERA holds on their 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 entitlements.

The ‘two year rule’

Entitlements do not have to be used each year. However, if farm businesses don’t use all of the entitlements that they hold at least once in any two year period, then they will lose some of them in the second year. This is known as the ‘2 year rule’. Entitlements that go unused for two consecutive years will be returned to the Regional Reserve.

For a small number of businesses who are affected by the two year usage rule, the entitlement information displayed on the online Single Application and the 2018 online entitlement register service will be inaccurate until the entitlement confiscation is applied in early April. DAERA will write to all farm businesses affected by this issue.

In order to avoid future confiscation, there are two options available:

· Increase the area of eligible land that the farm business will be actively farming so that the number of eligible hectares is at least equal to the number of entitlements held by the business; or

· Transfer the entitlements that will not be used to another business.

It is important to note that there is no longer an option to keep hold of entitlements by rotating the ones used from year to year.

Transferring Entitlements

Farmers who wish to transfer entitlements will need to request the Business ID and Entitlement Transfer ID from the person they are transferring their entitlements to. DAERA cannot provide the Business ID and Transfer ID of a third party to another farm business. Once completed, an email confirming the successful transfer will be issued instantly.

Farmers can download forms to be completed and received by DAERA by 2 May 2018 to use for transfers involving:

· Inheritance or anticipated inheritance only: Form TE1

· Farm business merger: Form BC3

· Farm business scission: Form BC4

For farmers who wish to use an agent to transfer their entitlements and have not previously completed a nomination form for the Single Application and Maps Service they should do so now. However, if they do not need an agent to complete their Single Application and Map or wish to nominate a different agent to look after their entitlements transfer, they will need to complete the BPS Entitlements – Online Agent Authorisation Form.

These forms are available for downloading from: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/area-based-schemes-2018-guidance-and-forms

Further guidance is available in the 2018 Guide to the Transfer of Basic Payment Scheme entitlements available at: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/2018-guide-transfer-entitlement

For enquiries regarding the transfer of entitlements, call the SAF Advisory Service on 0300 200 7848.