APR – A good news story!

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03 June 2011

The result of a farmhouse APR case has just been published which is  good news for farmers hoping for relief on their farmhouse despite their semi-retired status or small acreage.

The case concerned a Mr Golding who for over 65 years farmed  about 16 acres in Staffordshire.  He lived in a listed three-bedroom farmhouse on the holding, which by the time of his death was in a poor state of repair.  None of the upstairs bedrooms had electricity and apples were stored in one of the bedrooms.  Up until the 1980's Mr Golding farmed intensively with 600 free range chickens, some cattle, fruit and vegetables.  In later years, however, his agricultural activities dwindled to the extent that his only farm income was derived from selling a few eggs at the farm gate.  In the four years up to his death, his farm income never exceeded £1,600. 

The Revenue said that the house was not of a character appropriate to the holding. 

The District Valuer gave evidence for the Revenue.  His evidence was that a farm of this size was incapable of being farmed profitably.  There was a certain amount of debate on this point with the executors' expert suggesting that an intensive poultry use was possible but that profitability was not decisive anyway.  The Tribunal agreed that a lack of profit should not affect whether a farmhouse was of a character appropriate. 

The Tribunal also recognised that as farmers get older they are less active in farming and that alone should not prevent a farmhouse qualifying for APR. 

The case is very similar to that of Gethem in 1994 where the executors also succeeded in an APR claim on a small farmhouse with a similar acreage.  That little known and unreported case was before the raft of APR cases that we have seen over the last fifteen years.

This decision will be reassuring to many smaller and elderly farmers because it suggests that financial viability is not key and that elderly farmers inevitably do less farming than younger farmers and that they should not be penalised as a result

The Revenue have until the middle of July in which to appeal the decision.

 

For further information please contact Tom Hewitt by email, tom.hewitt@burges-salmon.com or Tel: +44(0) 117 902 2717.

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