I’ve been reading a few things over the holidays that have alerted me to some matters that I think some of our members might like to keep an eye out for over the coming year or so.
Water Market Deregulation
Firstly, the water market is being deregulated in April this year, which could bring some benefits to members. Scotland have already done this back in 2008 and this deregulation in England means being able to switch suppliers and potentially make big savings. For those with wineries this could be a game changer.
More information and what it all means can be found here.
Rural Business Rates
Last year saw the governments Valuations Office Agency (VOA) doing their non-domestic rates reevaluation, which has led to many small rural businesses coming out of business rates – mainly pubs, shops and post-offices, whilst other businesses have seen their valuations propelled over the new £15,000 threshold for 100% relief. This won’t affect many in our industry but of those who may have a diverse portfolio of businesses including holiday cottages, shops or equine related businesses may be in that category of seeing their business rates go up by up to 300%.
You may believe this increase in rateable value may not reflect the reality of your business in terms of increased revenue or growth in business. There is transitional relief available for the short-term but if you think your new rates are unjustified you can appeal after April 1st 2017. In this appeal process the Country Landowners Association (CLA) believes you should employ a suitably qualified Chartered Surveyor to help make your case. If you are affected by rate hikes the CLA is looking to gather evidence to challenge the Government. You can email me details and I will pass these cases onto the CLA if you are not already members.
More information from the VOA is here.
New Tax Arrangements in 2020
Getting ahead of the curve where the HMRC is concerned is often advisable. In 2020 HMRC is looking to make us all go digital in how we deal with our taxes. With minds turning to the Self Assessment deadline of 31st January it is worth considering how this new scheme, called Making Tax Digital (MTD – not the most exciting of titles) will work and whether there are likely to be complications for rural businesses. An app or software will need to be installed and accounting/data entry carried out on a monthly basis by businesses directly to HMRC via a direct internet link.
This won’t apply to those in employment or who are pensioners – unless they have over £10,000 in secondary income. Rural broadband connectivity and the complexity and diversity of rural businesses have been expressed to HMRC as being issues and no doubt factors for vineyard owners.
You can find more info here.
April 2018 will see a roll-out of beta test for which the HMRC are looking for volunteers. If owners want to trial this in 2018 I can endeavour to find out how to join this testing – it might be useful for a vineyard to trail this and report their experiences to members.
Do remember the UKVA is a member of the CLA and can access tax and other advice on behalf of members. Just contact Jo and myself.