31 October 1997

Never better time to retire

DAIRY farmers thinking of retiring should do so now, according to Worcestershire-based rural property consultants Carver Knowles.

With chancellor Gordon Brown due to publish a green paper on tax reform next month, there is a real chance that any changes to current reliefs introduced in the spring 1998 Budget could be backdated to November.

Full inheritance tax relief on agricultural property, roll-over relief and tax-free lifetime gifts are at particular threat, says the companys Mark Sanders. Retirement relief on milk quota could also go, while Labour will almost certainly look at the definition of a "working farmer". This could limit the tax benefits for landowners operating share farming, contract farming or grass letting agreements, and not actually working the land themselves.n