Single Farm Enterprise
From 1st July 2000, Council’s that adopt a fixed charge as part of their general rates need to develop a system that permits a ratepayer who operates a “single farm enterprise” across two or more pieces of farming land to make application for only one fixed charge to apply.
What Constitutes a Single Farm Enterprise?
A “single farm enterprise” must be comprised of two or more pieces of rateable land, which are farmland, as set out above, and are occupied by the same person or persons.
Section 152 of the Act defines a “single farm enterprise” as:
- a) Single Farm Enterprise means land which is used wholly or mainly for the business of primary production as a single enterprise and is occupied by the same person or persons. The land which constitutes the single farm enterprise need not be adjoining parcels of land.
- b) Where the land has upon it a dwelling which is used as a principal place of residence for one of the occupiers, the land with the dwelling must adjoin at least one of the other pieces of land used for the single farm enterprise.
- c) If different persons occupy any of the allotments which constitute the farm, then a single farm enterprise does not exist.
The definition imposes an absolute requirement that all of the occupiers must be the same for all the allotments comprising the single farm enterprise (regardless of who may own the land). Where multiple dwellings are located on a farming enterprise it will be necessary for Councils to be advised of every occupier in order to assess whether a single enterprise exists.
Application Form Information
Section 152(3) of the Act provides that a ratepayer may only gain the benefit of the “single farm enterprise” categorisation on application to the Council and by provision of such information or evidence as the Council may reasonably require, that the relevant land is within the ambit of the provision.
The information or evidence that the Council will reasonably require will include the following:
- The names of all the persons who own and occupy each allotment (as comprised in a Certificate of Title) of the land claimed to be the single farm enterprise;
- A description of the use to which all of the allotments of land are put;
- If not the owner, a copy of any leases or licences, or details of the rights to occupy any of the allotments comprising the single farm enterprise;
- A list of the names of all persons who derive income, or claim deductions for the purposes of income tax as a result of the farming activities conducted upon each of the allotments comprising the single farm enterprise.
If the occupation of any of the allotments differs, then a “single farm enterprise” by definition, will not exist. Also, if the persons who derived income or claim deductions for income tax purposes differ a “single farm enterprise” will not exist as the land will not be “farmed as a single enterprise”.
Application Form Due Date
To allow Council to appropriately set rate levels at its annual budget meeting, applications for Single Farm Enterprise status should be received by the 31th March of the current year.
Please note: No application will have an effect on past fixed charges assessed.