Agricultural tenancies

By Tolley in association with Julie Butler
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The following Trusts and Inheritance Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Julie Butler provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Agricultural tenancies
  • The rate of relief
  • The qualifying ownership period
  • The availability of BPR
  • The availability of APR on the farmhouse
  • Practical planning

Land subject to an agricultural tenancy may qualify for agricultural property relief (APR) for the landlord. However, the extent of the relief and the qualifying conditions for tenanted land differ in some respects from land which isfarmed ‘in-hand’. ‘In-hand’ farming isthe activity of the landowners farming the land themselves. The differences relate to:

  • the rate of relief
  • the qualifying ownership period
  • the availability of business property relief (BPR)
  • the availability of APR on the farmhouse
The rate of relief
Types of tenancies

Prior to September 1995, farm tenants were granted security of tenure under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 (AHA) (subscription sensitive). All AHA tenancies, as a general rule, continue in force from year to year, unless voluntarily surrendered or terminated by a valid notice to quit. Twelve months’ notice isrequired and the tenant has one month in which to serve a counter-notice. In such circumstances, the issue isadjudicated by the Agricultural Land Tribunal, which in theory, can grant possession to the landlord in the interests of good husbandry, sound estate management, or hardship (though such cases rarely arise). There are certain circumstances in which a tenant loses the right to serve a counter-notice, for example, failure to pay rent, or bankruptcy.

The security of tenure provided to tenants proved to be a disincentive to landowners to let their land. By way of reform, the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 (ATA) (subscription sensitive) introduced a new type of tenancy ― the farm business tenancy (FBT). The essential elements of an FBT are that:

  • it must have commenced after August 1995, and the property which

More on APR planning: