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Farmer claim trading allowance trigger loss relief

Can a farmer just claim trading allowance to generate profit and trigger another 5 years loss relief

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Farmer has not generated a profit for more than 5 years. It is not a hobby. He has pension income. He can no longer set trading losses off against pension so has losses brought forward into 2018-19. He will make another loss 2018-19 and I expect he will make them in futures years too. Instead of claiming expenses for 2018-19 he could claim trading allowance. Turnover minus trading allowance would generate a profit, but a smaller profit than the losses bought forward so the profit would be covered by losses brought forward and no tax payable. Would this count as a profit that would re-set the 5-year clock for loss restrictions?

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RLI
By lionofludesch
04th Jan 2020 15:50

Has he thought about selling the farm ?

How long can he afford to plough (no pun intended) his apparently meagre pension into a loss making enterprise ?

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Morph
By kevinringer
04th Jan 2020 16:15

That's a different matter.

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RLI
By lionofludesch
04th Jan 2020 16:24

Well, the answer is that the trading allowance is at the taxpayer's option so I don't see why not.

But is that the best advice you can give ?

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Morph
By kevinringer
05th Jan 2020 06:35

My advice isn't confined to the losses and all aspects of the business have been discussed including future options. My question was solely the losses which is why that is all that I was seeking an answer on so that is what I confined my question to.

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By CJaneH
04th Jan 2020 17:20

Both You and client state the farming is not a hobby. However if no profits made for 5 years and no prospect of a profit it is not a business trading to make a profit. I cannot see why HMRC should permit future losses to be set against his pension.

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Morph
By kevinringer
05th Jan 2020 06:36

In which case why does HMRC have the 5-year rule for farming losses only?

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By whitevanman
05th Jan 2020 11:31

There are two possible "tests".
Losses can be restricted because the farming is not carried on on a commercial basis and with a view to a profit ( which would seem to fit this case and defeat the Trading Allowance idea). The 5 year rule is the second ( and again, deliberately engineering a profit is likely to be caught).
The reason for the 5 year rule is, I believe, that farming is / was very popular with wealthy individuals who seek to set-off losses against highly taxed income. It is possible to get round the "commercial" test and yet still be carrying on what most would regard as a non-commercial activity, giving rise to substantial losses. So the 5 year rule gives an answer to that, perceived, problem.

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By Tax Dragon
06th Jan 2020 11:27

If you're not carrying on a thing for profit, is the thing you are carrying on a trade? So s66 could be seen as otiose. Except for farming (among other special cases), which is a trade for income tax purposes (ITTOIA s9). So we need the commerciality test in s66 to stop the city farmers and their kith that wvm mentions from benefiting unduly. But s66 may be considered, to some extent anyway, subjective - it's problematic, in any event. Farming is a problematic industry. Apply a problematic test to a problematic industry and guess what you get? Problems. (Your client might be caught, but there's nothing like enough info to be categoric here. Whilst not disagreeing with CJane and wvm, I don't agree either. Not without more info.) The five-year test in s67 curtails the arguments (well, modifies them… I don't recall a single instance of a farmer appealing to the competency test (s68)).

I confess that, when I saw your OP, I thought "great question, but of course not". However, joining the dots (ITA 2007 s70(2) and (4), s59(3)(a), ITTOIA s26 and s783AI(2)), the picture that's starting to emerge challenges my thinking. (Though my thinking often goes awol in January... perfect timing!!) You might need to do it for two successive years, because of s70(2), but I'm not at the moment seeing why the idea might fail completely.

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Morph
By kevinringer
06th Jan 2020 12:26

Thanks everyone for your answers and particularly Tax Dragon for the detail. Food for thought.

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