Deadline looms for Registered Farm Partnerships

Deadline looms for Registered Farm Partnerships

Philip O'Connor, Head of Farm Support at ifac.

A PROPERLY planned partnership such as a Registered or Unregistered Farm can assist in the farm transfer and succession process, enhance profitability and work-life balance, reduce Income Tax, secure 50% Stock Relief, and a potential double ceiling for the new TAMS II Capital Grant.

Registered Farm Partnerships Changing farm structures is a big decision for any farmer and all Department of Agriculture, Revenue, and legal aspects should be reviewed before entering. Once your accountant and /or solicitor have examined the structure and it makes financial, succession, and legal sense the next step is to deal with the Department of Agriculture.

The current deadline for applying for a Registered Farm Partnership number in 2021 is the 26th of February 2021. While you can 100% be in a registered farm partnership after this date, your BPS will remain in your name for the 2021 scheme year.

Your accountant/solicitor must decide on the exact partners in the partnership BEFORE you apply to move your herd number to the new partnership name. However, be aware that you cannot move a herd number to a partnership if you have applied for, and have NOT been granted approval for, a TAMS II grant or GLAS. You must wait until approval has been granted and then transfer the herd number. The other option is to not apply for TAMS II or GLAS in existing herd number name and wait for the Registered Partnership number to be granted and then apply using the new structure – enhanced double ceiling for TAMS II.

Once the herd number has been moved to the new structure and all other relevant partnership documentation is compiled and completed you are now ready to submit your partnership application to the Department of Agriculture.

BPS must follow before the 15th of May. This again is a straight forward process and involves completing the Transfer of Entitlements Form and indicating you are involved in a partnership. If your partnership has been registered with the Department of Agriculture and you have received your Partnership number it is this new Registered Farm Partnership number you use to apply for BPS. If as highlighted above, you only submitted your registered farm partnership to the Dept of Agri after the 28th of February then your BPS application will be completed in either your / joint names.

The Joint Herd Number Issue – Am I in a Partnership?

Over the past number of years, farmers have created “Joint Herd Number” structures to possibly qualify for the National Reserve & Young Farmers Scheme without seeking either legal or taxation guidance. The question arises in individual cases as to whether a partnership has been created and if so, what are the potential consequences? Partnership Characteristics for most “Joint Herd Number” applications required:

A bank statement or letter from the bank confirming that the bank account is in joint names;

A declaration, witnessed by a solicitor, that the Young Farmer could and would exercise effective and long term control, either solely or jointly over the farming entity for which the application was being submitted;

A declaration that the Young Farmers’ control extends to decisions surrounding the management, benefits and financial results associated with the farming entity.

This structure has many of the characteristics used in determining whether a partnership exists or not and could if deemed to be a partnership, unwittingly and unknowingly:

Grant immediate unintended legal ownership rights in the underlying farming assets of the enterprise to the new joint owner;

Render the terms of existing wills, not reflecting the existence of the partnership, open to legal challenge as a consequence of not referring specifically to the partnership;

Create unplanned and unintended Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Capital Acquisitions Tax, or Stamp Duty bills.

IFAC dos & don’ts Do NOT transfer your herd number or BPS to a registered partnership before deciding with your accountant/solicitor who exactly is in the partnership;

Do NOT transfer your herd number to a registered partnership or joint names if you have applied and not been granted approval for a TAMS grant or GLAS. You must wait until approval has been granted before moving the herd number;

BPS must always be transferred to the new entity before the 15th May – next date 15th May 2021;

Be aware of tax / legal issues of moving a herd number to joint names without setting up either a registered or unregistered partnership.

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