Minor business changes could mean big hikes in business rate bills for farmers and landowners.
The Central Association of Agricultural Valuers (CAAV) warned farmers not to presume their agricultural activities qualify for exemptions as it could lead to large, backdated tax bills.
The definitions covering agricultural exemptions were complicated and business owners have been urged to ‘stay ahead of the game’.
With councils now benefiting more from business rate revenue, they were increasingly clamping down on ‘grey areas’, according to Jeremy Moody, secretary and adviser at the CAAV.
He said: “Not every acre of farmland is necessarily agriculturally exempt and more importantly, by no means is every farm building an agricultural building for rates.”
And any land or property deemed as having dual usage will become liable for business rates.
“Farmers may find themselves with a large bill if more than 5 per cent of the income generated is not covered under the agricultural exemption,” Mr Moody said.
Solar wind and hydro were also facing large increases in rates, but if the power is all used in the farm it may be exempt.
However, if more than 5 per cent goes into another business it may be rateable.