Whilst doing this year’s round I came across a number of clients who are reusing grazing licences issued anything up to 12 years ago! Agreements of this age will have no reference to the current BPS, entitlements, greening and other relevant EU regulations.
In order to protect the farmer’s status as the farmer (not a landlord) for both tax and BPS purposes, it’s important to ensure that you have an up to date version of such agreements. It’s also important to ensure that the farmer (not the licensee) carries out the relevant work pertaining to the agreement e.g. reseeding, applying fertiliser etc. and shows these costs through their accounts.
Reviewing these documents annually is also worthwhile to ensure that both parties are happy with the arrangement and any variations can be written into the agreement to avoid any future disagreement.
When/if Brexit happens, all preceding grazing licences will of course be invalid and need updating.
These licences are very low cost to set up and review annually.
He is a useful link from the legal boffins summarising: https://www.burges-salmon.com/news-and-insight/legal-updates/grazing-licences-avoiding-the-tax-traps/
If using a grazing licence, make sure you are in the agreement with open eyes and both parties are aware of their obligations. A simple written license can clarify matters and ensure all aspects are adhered to. Contact Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org or your local FCG office, to ensure you are up to date and legal.