Scrutton Bland Agriculture Newsletter - Winter 2021

Welcome to our Autumn 2021 edition of Agri Business

The past few years have seen unprecedented changes within the agriculture sector, and events such as Brexit and the COVID pandemic have had a significant and lasting effect. A s professional advisers, our role is to assist clients in the present, whilst keeping an eye to the future. With that in mind, in this edition we examine how businesses can act now to protect their people and operations, streamline their processes and take advantages of the opportunities presented to them. Further to this, in this edition we look at tax opportunities for farmers and landowners around capital expenditure (see page 8), particularly for large scale projects such as storage facilities. We also outline the most recent announcements to the timetable for Making Tax Digital together with the news of a year’s delay to their planned change to the tax reporting ‘basis period’ which may – once introduced - present a number of challenges to businesses (see page 7).

Nick Banks

Tax remains a key issue for the sector, and reforms to the tax system have been predicted for some time, particularly in regard to the favourable reliefs which many farmers and landowners have been able to claim. The Government has taken advice in this area, namely through the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS), whose recommendations have been widely publicised and, as an industry we were braced for change in the 2020 Budget. Unsurprisingly, the attention for that Budget was moved to dealing with COVID, however pressure will undoubtedly once again mount in this area. As advisers we are preparing our clients the best we can, and we encourage our clients to talk to us about making use of tax allowances and timing capital expenditure so that Capital Allowances are utilised before it is too late.

Our agricultural insurance business work at Scrutton Bland continues to thrive and as factors such as climate change impact the farming year, many businesses now need to factor this in to their policy covers to ensure they are protected. On page 10 we look at the issue of the increasing frequency of severe hailstorms in this country, and the insurance that is available. In an increasingly online world, data has become a key commodity in managing agricultural businesses. The pandemic has accelerated this change, as businesses are looking to process data more quickly, automatically, and wherever possible take manual processes (such as keying in) out of their management operations. Scrutton Bland’s SBDigital service has helped many clients revolutionise their systems, and on page 4 our SB Digital Director Ryan Pearcy looks at the evolution of data management systems for agricultural businesses.

As we move towards the end of 2021, we turn an eye to our Farming Conference in January. Last year’s virtual event was a great success and we’ll be hoping for a similar take up this year. We are currently working on an impressive line-up of speakers so please watch this space. Finally, our team at Scrutton Bland continues to grow and we are delighted that Jack Deal joined us as a Director in our Business Advisory team in August. Jack specialises in agricultural businesses, working closely with farmers and landowners. Jack’s advisory skills complement our existing team, and we are excited to have him on board. We hope you enjoy this edition of Agri Business, and if you want to discuss any of the points raised, please get in touch your usual Scrutton Bland contact.

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