Section 876: Meaning of “farming” and related expressions
3294.This section defines “farming” and “market gardening” and clarifies the meaning of “forestry” and “woodlands”. It is based on section 832(1) of ICTA and section 154 of FA 1995.
3295.Section 832(1) of ICTA defines “farm land” and “market garden land”. It then goes on to say that “farming” and “market gardening” “shall be construed accordingly”. The reasons for this approach are largely historic and date from the time when the charge on farming and market gardening was under Schedule B. “Farm land” and “market garden land” are no longer terms used in the rules concerned with farming and market gardening; they remain only in the definition in section 832(1) of ICTA.
3296.The definitions in this section take a different approach. They define “farming” and “market gardening” by reference to the nature of the activity, not the land on which the activity is carried out. Farming excludes market gardening.
3297.Farming is an activity which is given differing taxation treatment depending on whether or not the land is situated in the United Kingdom. Section 832(1) of ICTA provides that the definitions of “farm land” and “market garden land” are confined to land occupied in the United Kingdom.
3298.There is no territorial restriction in the definitions in this Act. Instead the territorial restriction is included in the rewrite of section 53(1) and (2) of ICTA as section 9 of this Act and not in the definitions.
3299.Subsection (1) provides the definition of “farming”. It requires the land to be occupied wholly or mainly for the purposes of husbandry. This reflects a long-standing distinction in tax law between profits resulting from the taxpayer’s occupation of the land and profits from an activity in which occupation of the land is merely incidental.
3300.In the first case the trader exploits or uses the land, for example, by growing crops or grazing animals. In the second case the trader occupies the land only because a physical location, such as a shop or factory, is needed from which to carry on the trade. Factory farming, that is the intensive rearing of fish or livestock, is not farming for income tax purposes. This is because the animals do not live or draw their sustenance from the land.
3301.Husbandry is a fairly old-fashioned term but one that is the subject of a considerable body of case law. The status of any marginal case must be determined in the light of that case law subject to the clarification given in subsection (2).
3302.The definition of “farm land” in section 832 of ICTA excludes “any dwelling or domestic offices”. This section does not repeat this exclusion of farmhouses.
3303.As originally enacted, the definition of farm land in section 832(1) of ICTA specifically included the farmhouse and farm buildings as part of the farm land. The House of Lords in IRC v Korner and Others (1969), 45 TC 287 HL, held that the effect of this provision was that a farmhouse was an asset of the trade for which a 100% deduction could be obtained. This applies even if the farmer also uses the farmhouse as a private residence. An amendment was introduced in FA 1969 to reverse the effect of that decision. This is why the definition of “farm land” in section 832(1) of ICTA excludes “any dwelling or domestic offices”.
3304.In practice a farmer is allowed to make deductions in respect of expenditure of a revenue nature on office buildings used purely for business purposes. Such expenditure has always been treated as being incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of the trade and not prohibited from being deducted under section 74(1)(a) of ICTA.
3305.Section 74(1)(c) of ICTA deals with the deduction of rent where only part of a dwelling house or domestic offices are used for trade purposes. Again, in practice, a taxpayer whose trade is farming is permitted to make deductions in respect of such houses and offices.
3306.In the case of any other expenses of a residential property which is subject to dual private and business use a trader is permitted to apportion these and the proportion attributable to trade use is allowed as a deduction. Again this treatment applies to farmers. See section 34 of this Act (expenses not wholly and exclusively for trade and unconnected losses).
3307.A farmer who wishes to claim a deduction for the proportion of expenses of his or her farmhouse attributable to trade rather than private purposes can do so through section 34. Omitting the exclusion of farmhouses and domestic offices from the definition of farming gives statutory effect to what occurs in practice.
3308.Subsection (2) identifies two specific types of activity as “husbandry” and therefore farming.
3309.Paragraph (a) is based on the definition of market garden land in section 832(1) of ICTA. Hop growing is generally recognised to be farming but is often spoken of as taking place in a garden. This could bring it within the definition of “market garden land” in section 832(1) of ICTA but for the fact that hop growing is excluded from that definition. Subsection (2)(a) makes clear that hop growing is farming.
3310.Paragraph (b) is based on the ordinary meaning of the word farming. Stud farming has generally been assumed to be farming for income tax purposes. The reference to “the breeding and rearing of horses and the grazing of horses in connection with those activities” makes clear what that activity encompasses for the purposes of this Act.
3311.Subsection (5) defines “market gardening”. It makes it clear that the produce sold must have been grown on the relevant land rather than being bought in for resale.