The Farmer, the Nursing Home, and Agricultural Property Relief
05 May 2010
Agricultural property relief was allowed on the former home of a deceased farmer, despite it being unoccupied for 4 years before his death while he was in a nursing home.
A farmer farmed in partnership with his son and daughter-in-law. Father lived in a bungalow which was part of the tenancy of the farm that he had granted to the partners. Four years before his death the father moved into a nursing home where he remained. The bungalow was unoccupied but for the partners coming in and making sure the pipes were not freezing, collecting post etc. HMRC argued that the bungalow was not occupied for agricultural purposes in those last four years. The tribunal disagreed and found that the partnership was still occupying the house for agricultural purposes by virtue of the tenancy. It seems that it was the tenancy that was key here and the lack of physical occupation in the last four years up to death did not undermine the position. The case gives some comfort for farmers facing the nursing home dilemma. However, the existence of a tenancy is relatively unusual and whilst one might engineer a tenancy if there is a partnership it would not provide any help for sole traders.
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