Now the Brexit clock is truly ticking what should farm and rural businesses be considering?

Countdown to Brexit has begun although arguably whether it can be delivered within the two years specified remains a matter of conjecture.

So how should rural and farm businesses plan ahead, in terms of their tax affairs, for what is approaching, without knowing the detail of what that entails or when it will occur?

Alison Robinson, Partner with UK top 20 Chartered Accountants Saffery Champness, and a member of the firm’s Landed Estates and Rural Business Group, says that a major aspect of being ready is having your affairs in order.

One of the few achievable actions that can be taken now is to be totally up to date with any outstanding tax liabilities. Coincidentally, HMRC is, over the next two years, making businesses more regularly accountable through Making Tax Digital (MTD), which will require quarterly reporting, so in being ready for and compliant with MTD one is in effect being better prepared for Brexit.

The other key aspect is to strive for profitability over the intervening period. Brexit will bring few if any concessions so those in a loss-making situation now will most likely be in a worse position under the new regime unless steps can be taken to effect change.

Saffery Champness also advises that a comprehensive audit of all aspects of the business that could be affected by Brexit should be undertaken covering for example:

* What European suppliers do you use?

* What European markets are important to you?

* What other elements of your business are derived from the EU?

* What is your exposure regarding employing temporary or permanent staff from Europe?

* What percentage of your turnover is Basic Payment Scheme and how would loss of or reduction of this affect profit?

* How would a drop in land values affect your future plans?

Alison Robinson says:

Good housekeeping now, getting affairs properly in order, and planning ahead are actions that every business can undertake. Common sense as ever is a critical factor.

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