HMRC Not So Merry With Wedding Venues

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Farmers hiring out land and buildings for wedding ceremonies may have to pay back thousands in back tax following a failed VAT appeal earlier this year.

Blue Chip Hotels failed in their appeal to overturn more than £50,000 in VAT. The company argued that, as it didn’t offer room hire for civil wedding ceremonies as part of its package, VAT was not due.

However the upper tribunal ruled that, to meet wedding license regulations, the hire would not qualify as tax exempt ‘passive renting of a room’ and would therefore be liable to VAT for the whole amount, totalling more than £50,000.

The case demonstrates that the hire of any room for similar purposes is unlikely to be VAT exempt when there are a number of regulations that a commercial provider is required to meet.

It also raises a number of considerations for farmers planning organised events on their property such as wedding receptions, or concerts held on their grounds. If HMRC challenge a VAT return, farmers could be liable to pay up to four years’ worth of back tax.

If you have any queries it is always best to check with your adviser. Green & Co have a dedicated VAT department who can advise on a whole range of VAT matters. To speak with one of the team contact us on 01633 871122.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Funding For Organic Farmers In Wales

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Organic Farmers in Wales are able to apply for financial support from the Welsh Government in recognition of the environmental services they provide.

The Glastir Organic scheme will operate as a stand-alone, while any voluntary options can be integrated within the other Glastir schemes. It is specifically aimed at environmental goods and services which:

  • Combat climate change
  • Improve water management
  • Maintain and enhance biodiversity.

The Glastir Organic scheme closes on 4th November 2016 and more information can be found online on the Welsh Government website.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Better times ahead for Dairy Farmers?

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More good news for dairy farmers, as both First Milk and Arla have raised the milk price for their farmers.

Arla have raised their milk price for its 2,700 British farmers by 1.6p per litre, while First Milk have raised theirs by 2p per litre – the largest increase for nine years.

However, the NFU has warned dairy farmers to look past the headlines and ensure they read the small print in their contracts, as many  will be offered new contracts as the value of milk continues to rise.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Big UK interest in Dairy Aid scheme

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The Rural Payments Agency has revealed that over 1,800 UK farmers have applied for the EU’s Dairy Aid Scheme.

The voluntary scheme will pay producers the equivalent of 12.2p per litre to cut production over the next three months. The aim of the scheme is to reduce the milk supply across Europe and restore balance to the market which will in turn stabilise prices.

Over the course of the coming week, the EU Commission will verify figures from all member states and work out the funding to cover all the applicants for the scheme which will run from 1 October to 31st December.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

 

Farmers Still Being Targeted

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Rural thieves are putting down their bolt cutters and turning to their computers to steal from farmers, according to new statistics.

Criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in how they operate and new tactics include cloning tractor identities, stealing GPS computer systems and even using Google Earth to highlight weak points in the perimeter to steal livestock or machinery.

According to the latest figures released by NFU Mutual, the cost of rural crime to the UK economy reached £42.5m in 2015, up from £37.8m in 2014, but down from £44.5m in 2013.

Social media is fast becoming a valuable resource for sharing information about rural crime and helping catch criminals and return stolen goods.

Those living and working in rural areas are advised to regularly evaluate their security measures and remain vigilant.  Any suspicious activity should be reported to the local police as well as community watch schemes.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

 

 

Farming Retirement

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Age is only a number, yet it rarely comes along by itself. Despite this, employment law changes have resulted in the retirement age of 65 for men and 60 for women being abolished. As a result, many farmers are now working beyond this and it brings added pressure for the employer and employee alike.

It is important that age is not a discriminatory factor in the hiring process of farm employees. However, the health and safety risks inherent with farming need to be communicated to all employees without causing offence.

It is possible that the many generations of farmers will not be aware of the legal issues surrounding this and as a result, may not be able to identify if they are being treated equally by their employer.

This also applies to employers, who need will need to put an emphasis on the competence of the employee to carry out the job required.  This means measuring employees of all ages on the same underlying factors of perhaps manual dexterity or physical ability, as opposed to just their age.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Monmouthshire Show

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Tomorrow, for the second year running, Green & Co will be attending the Monmouthshire Show, alongside the CLA and Balfours with Berringtons.

Each year over 20,000 visitors enjoy a taste of farming and the countryside at the stunning showground on the banks of the River Wye in Monmouth.

The Monmouthshire Show has something for everyone:

  • Agricultural Events and Demonstrations
  • Farming and Livestock
  • Horses
  • Horticulture
  • Dog Shows
  • Craft Marquee and Shopping
  • Amusements
  • Food Hall
  • Trade Stands and much, much more.

A brilliant day out for all the family!

We look forward to welcoming you to our stand which is situated at the bottom of the main ring near to the Members Marquee.

Water Market Reforms

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With effect from April 2017 farmers will be able to choose their water supplier (and also the sewage service provider) in much the same way that they can currently decide on a different energy provider. However this change only applies to business not domestic customers and also those businesses must be situated in England.

This change was brought about by the Water Act 2014. The government has set up a new body called Open Water which is bringing together all the different organisations necessary to deliver this project.

It is thought that this change will bring:

  • increased choice for customers,
  • better levels of service and more tailored prices
  • A more sustainable approach to managing our water and waste water.

This is already in place in Scotland and it is thought that the public sector is set to save over £30 million over 4 years due to price discounts and improvements to water efficiency. There doesn’t appear to be any news on when this will be rolled out to Wales.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.

Robots In Farming

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Due to the difficulties encountered by farmers on recruiting farm labour attention is being turned to the use of agricultural robots. These can be used to collect data, harvest crops, identify weeds and space out pot grown plants.

Robots have become popular in dairy systems – with the possibility that by 2025 half of all dairy cows in North West Europe will be milked by robotic systems.

Feeding has also benefited from the use of robotic systems – machines now mix and dispense food without the need for a tractor and driver.

In North America robots have been used in the large greenhouses to space out plants. Traditionally this was the job of seasonal workers whose productivity reduced as the day wore on and were susceptible to injury due to the heavy nature of the work.

There are also robots for use in vineyards, strawberry producers and mechanical weeders.

These systems are expensive but development is proceeding at a fair pace.

Please note: This article is a commentary on general principles and should not be interpreted as advice for your specific situation.