BPS 2016: Essential advice for farmers making a claim

As the online BPS 2016 claim process starts this week in England, Alice De Soer from the Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) explains what lies ahead for claimants.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) will be encouraging online Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claims this year.

While applications cannot be submitted until about mid-March, the first phase of work can start this week to check contact details, authorise someone else to submit the claim and to view and transfer land and entitlements.

Farmers Weekly will be working with CAAV to bring readers the latest advice on and experience of the new system as it develops.

Do I need to register on the Rural Payments service?

Yes. If you didn’t register for BPS 2015, either use gov.uk verify or phone the RPA on 03000 200 301. If you already registered last year for the Rural Payments service, you don’t need to do it again.

Alice De Soer
Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV)

How do I start my BPS 2016 claim online?

You need to sign in to the Rural Payments service using your customer reference number (CRN) and password.

When you’ve signed in, the “Your businesses” screen should appear. Click on “View Business” and you will see your “Business overview” screen.

That is where you will find the links to the parts of your BPS 2016 claim that need to be completed.

What can I do online from this week?

You should be able to check your personal and business details, authorise an agent or someone else to submit your claim for you, look at your entitlements and land and also transfer entitlements and land.

You won’t be able to do any more until about mid-March.

See also: Read more news about the Basic Payment Scheme

What should I check on my personal and business details?

When the RPA needs to contact you about your BPS claim they will either email or write to you. It is important to check that your email and postal address are correct.

You can amend these details online.

How do I authorise an agent to submit my BPS 2016 claim?

You can do this online using the Rural Payments service.

From your “Business overview” page, click on “Give access to this business”.

You should be able to view any permissions you have already given and set up new ones.

For an agent, or someone else, to complete and submit your BPS 2016 claim, you need to give them “basic payment scheme submit permission”.

You should check that you’ve given the correct permissions.

How can I check my entitlements?

View them on the Rural Payments service by clicking on “Entitlements” on your “Business Overview” page.

“View entitlements” allows you to look at the number, value and use by year of your entitlements.

You should also be sent a paper entitlements statement, but the online information may be more up-to-date. Check the number and “use by” year.

If you successfully claimed all of your entitlements for BPS 2015, they should have a 2017 “use by” year.

How do I transfer entitlements for a BPS 2016 claim?

From this week, you should be able to transfer entitlements (by sale, lease or gift) online.

Both the farmer transferring them and the farmer receiving them need to be registered on the Rural Payments service.

You will need the single business identifier (SBI) of the business you’re transferring the entitlements to. It is also still possible to use the paper RLE1 form to transfer entitlements.

The recipient of the entitlements needs to meet the “active farmer” rule.

If they submitted a BPS 2015 claim, the active farmer declaration they completed still stands so they can transfer in entitlements.

A new entrant who did not submit a BPS 2015 claim will need to complete a stand-alone active farmer declaration before entitlements can be transferred to them.

There is no six-week notice period and the deadline for an entitlements transfer to be effective for a BPS 2016 claim is Monday 16 May.

What land information can I view online?

From this week, you should be able to view all your land parcels online using the Rural Payments service Land Viewer.

You can choose to look at your fields on Ordnance Survey maps or aerial photography. It is also possible to print a map, but only on an individual field basis.

There is a summary of all your land parcels but you can click on a field to view more details.

Will mapping changes show where I have submitted an RLE1 form?

You may have already sent the RPA an RLE1 form to identify a new permanent ineligible feature (PIF) or other mapping changes such as splitting a field because of a new boundary fence.

When you look at the summary of your fields on the Land Viewer there should be an exclamation mark icon showing next to any field where a mapping change has not been completed by the RPA yet.

You do not need to send in another RLE1 form for those fields.

Only send an RLE1 form if there is a new PIF or mapping change you need to tell the RPA about.

How do I transfer my land?

If you have sold or let out land to a tenant, or your tenancy of some land has ended, you should be able to transfer that land online using the Rural Payments service from this week.

By transferring the land to the new occupier online it should show on their BPS 2016 application, making it easier to complete the claim.

You will need the SBI of the business you are transferring the land to and both you and the new occupier will need to be registered on the Rural Payments service.

It is only possible to transfer whole fields.

If you want to transfer part of a field, you will need to use a paper RLE1 form instead.

England BPS claims summary

Log on to the Rural Payments service 

From this week, you can do the following online:

  • Check your personal and business details
  • Give permission for an agent or someone else to submit your BPS claim
  • Check your land and entitlements
  • Transfer land so it is shown on a BPS 2016 online application
  • Transfer entitlements by 16 May 2016
  • From about mid-March – complete your BPS 2016 online application
  • Submit your claim by midnight on 16 May 2016

The deadline for transferring land for someone to claim it for BPS 2016 is 16 May.

When will I be able to complete my BPS 2016 claim online?

Initially you can only check your business details, give permission for an agent or someone else to submit your claim and check and transfer your land and entitlements.

This is helpful preparation work to complete now as from about mid-March you should be able to complete the other parts of your BPS 2016 claim.

This will include updating land use codes, saying what area of eligible land you want to claim, giving details of any ecological focus areas you need, applying for the young farmer payment, claiming for common land and completing declarations, including active farmer, before submitting your claim.

Do I have to complete my BPS 2016 claim online?

You can choose to claim online using the Rural Payments service or complete a paper BP5 form.

If you did not submit a claim using SPS Online in 2014, the RPA should automatically post you a pre-populated BP5 form.

It should also be possible to request a paper BP5 form.

What guidance will the RPA be issuing to help me complete my BPS 2016 claim?

The latest information about BPS 2016 claims will be available at Gov.uk’s section on Basic Payment Scheme 2016.

The RPA will be sending out “How to Apply” guidance in March.

There will also be guidance on BPS 2016 rules, including greening (which is already available on the gov.uk website).

What if I have land in other parts of the UK?

You will need to complete a BPS 2016 application for each part of the UK where your land is located.

In Wales, it is compulsory in 2016 to submit an online claim so you must ensure you are registered with the Rural Payments Wales (RPW) online service and have activated your online account (more information is available to Rural Payments Wales’ website).

You will be able to complete your Welsh online application, as well as transfer land and entitlements, from 7 March.

There should still be a choice in Scotland of either completing your claim online using Rural Payments and Services or submitting a paper SAF to RPID.

What is the deadline for submitting my BPS 2016 claim?

Whether you are completing your BPS 2016 claim online or using a paper BP5 form, the deadline for your claim and any supporting evidence to be received by the RPA (or RPW and Scotland’s Rural Payments and Inspections Division) is midnight on Monday 16 May.

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