Smoothing Out the Bumps: A Guide to Five-Year Farmer’s Averaging for Tax Savings

05 June 2024

We originally published this post on the ‘five-year farmer’s averaging‘ on 30 November 2016 and updated it on 5 June 2024 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Farmers face unique challenges when it comes to income. Fluctuating weather patterns, market prices, and production cycles can lead to significant swings in profits year-to-year. This can make tax bills unpredictable and potentially burdensome.

Fortunately, UK tax law offers some relief in the form of Five-Year Farmer’s Averaging. This allows farmers to average their profits over a five-year period, resulting in a more stable taxable income and potentially lower tax bills.

Here’s what you need to know about Five-Year Farmer’s Averaging

What is five-year farmer’s averaging?

Five-Year Farmer’s Averaging is a tax option that allows farmers to average their profits over the past five tax years for income tax purposes. This can significantly reduce tax liabilities in high-profit years by balancing them with low ones.

What are the benefits of five-year farmer’s averaging?

  • Reduced tax bills: By smoothing out income fluctuations, averaging can bring farmers into a lower tax bracket, leading to substantial tax savings.
  • Improved cash flow: Predictable tax bills can help farmers manage their cash flow more effectively.
  • Eligibility:
    • Farmers must be running a commercial business, not just a hobby farm.
    • There’s a “volatility test” to ensure significant income fluctuations exist.
    • Farmers can choose between two-year or five-year averaging, whichever is more beneficial.

What things should you consider?

  • Planning is Key: Five-year averaging rules can be complex and interact with other tax considerations. Consulting a tax professional is recommended to ensure you maximise the benefit and meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Capital Expenditure: When using averaging, the timing of significant capital purchases that qualify for tax relief can be crucial. Discussing this with your tax advisor is essential.

Five-Year Farmer’s Averaging can be a powerful tool for farmers to manage their tax burden. By understanding the benefits and complexities of this option, farmers can make informed decisions and potentially save a significant amount of money on their taxes.

Ready to see if Five-Year Farmer’s Averaging can benefit your farm? Contact our team of tax professionals today for a free consultation. We can help you understand the eligibility requirements, assess your situation, and develop a tax strategy to maximise your savings.

Nick Park FCCA,Director
five year farmers averaging

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