When you think of the term ‘business owner’ what’s the first thing that springs to mind? It probably isn’t an image of a farmer with his herd of sheep or cows, but for two of our more rural practices, this is the type of business owner they support on a daily basis.
The farmer’s business is conducted out in the field, in the barn or milking parlour and at the auction rooms. They quite literally get their hands dirty managing their ‘stock’ (and keeping it fed and healthy) and must be on hand to deal with business problems 24/7, every day of the year.
Just as the farmer’s business is exceptional, accounting for agriculture, farming and rural business is a specialist area that requires particular expertise and an understanding of the industry. As an example, for tax purposes, stock is treated on a ‘herd’ basis, with different animals having different tax valuations. In addition, farming businesses can present profits as an average taken over two years and, as of the last Budget in July, this average can now be taken over a longer, 5-year period. There are also a number of tax-deductible expenses that only rural businesses can claim for.
Whilst we can’t claim to know how to milk a cow or shear a sheep, we do pride ourselves in ensuring the advice we give to our rural clients is in line with the latest rules and regulations.
Approximately 10% of RfM Fylde’s clients are farming or agricultural businesses. Partner Alan Meikle gained invaluable experience working with a largely rural client base in Kirkby Lonsdale before bringing his skills to the practice in Pilling in 1994.
“I really enjoy working with our farming clients. It’s challenging but in different ways from a typical business. Some clients don’t use computers and we therefore assist them when they need to file VAT and other returns online with HMRC. Going out to meet with clients at their premises also gives us a better understanding of their needs. We also provide them with advice on Inheritance Tax planning and passing the business on to the next generation.”
Not surprisingly, RfM Ulverston, located in beautiful South Lakeland, has its fair share of rural and farming clients too.
“We have been providing accountancy and business support services to farms and rural businesses for over 100 years,” explains Partner Elaine Harris. “It’s a specialist area but we make sure we’re on top of current legislation and up to date with what’s happening, so we can make a real difference to our clients.”
If you would like to know more about our services for farming, agriculture and rural businesses, contact Alan Meikle on 01253 790527 or Elaine Harris on 01229 820003.