The Farmer and The Five-Year Rules

30 November 2016

There are two five-year rules that every farmer should be aware of, both of which affect the tax they pay. One has been in place for quite some time and the other was introduced in April 2016. Here is a quick re-cap of both.

The ‘five year loss’ rule seeks to ensure that farmers claim losses only when they are operating a commercial business (as opposed to a hobby). Self-employment losses can be offset against other income in the year in which they occur, or they can be carried back and offset in the previous year. However, a farmer cannot use a loss in this way if he or she has also made losses in each of the previous five tax years.

Farmers will be well versed in farmer’s averaging. Historically this allowed them to average their profits over two years in order to reduce unpredictable tax bills caused by fluctuating profits. Farmers can still average over two years; however, as of the 2016/17 tax year, they can also elect to average their profits over five years. So they now have three options in determining taxable profit.

There we have it in very brief form – a bunch of fives and a high five!

If you’d like any more information on this or any other tax-related farming queries, please contact Green & Co.

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

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