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Requirement for Sugarcane Farmer to Divest all Sugarcane Farming Interests
Why must a sugarcane farmer divest all sugarcane farming interests?
One of the aims of RASF is to allow older sugarcane farmers to retire from sugarcane farming. In keeping with this, it is necessary for the sugarcane farmer to dispose of all their sugarcane farming interests if they wish to participate in RASF.
Requirement to divest all sugarcane farming interests
Where both the retiring sugarcane farmer and partner own the sugarcane farm enterprise, both partners must divest all their sugarcane farming interests. Where the retiring sugarcane farmer and another person own the sugarcane farm enterprise in a partnership, only the retiring sugarcane farmer and their partner are required to divest their share.
Shares must be divested
Shares or units that the sugarcane farmer holds in sugarcane farming co-operatives essential to the running of the sugarcane farm enterprise and shares that the sugarcane farmer owns in other sugarcane farms are required to be divested. A sugarcane farmer who owns or has shares in more than one sugarcane farm is required to divest all sugarcane farming interests and properties.
Financial assets must be withdrawn
On retirement, a requirement of RASF is that Income Equalisation Deposits, Farm Management Deposits, etc be withdrawn. The rules of these schemes do not allow the deposits to be transferred to another person. If the sugarcane farmer withdraws the deposit and subsequently gives the cash away, the amount given away cannot be disregarded under RASF, as it is not a transfer of a sugarcane farm asset. That is, deprivation rules are applicable to such gifts. Sugarcane farm encumbrances must be transferred. Any sugarcane farm encumbrances, such as mortgages and overdrafts that are taken into account in working out the net value of the farm enterprise, must also be transferred.
Home and curtilage exemptions from divesting rules
A person's 'partner' is someone who is a member of a couple with that person.
- a majority of the enterprise is undertaken for the purposes of farming commercial quantities of cane sugar, or
- a significant proportion of the enterprise is undertaken for the purposes of growing commercial quantities of cane sugar, and the Commission has determined that there are special reasons why the farm enterprise should be treated as a sugarcane farm enterprise.
For the full definition, refer to subsection 5PAA(1).
For the purposes of income and assets assessment, a partnership is the relationship which exists between people carrying on business in common, with a view to making a profit. A partnership agreement may be oral OR written. The business may be run:
- in the owners' name(s), or
- under a registered business name.
The business is not a separate legal entity, which means that although the partnership lodges a tax return, the profit or income is assessable in the hands of the individual partners.
- owns an agreed portion of the business assets,
- receives an agreed portion of the profits, and
- is 'jointly and severally' liable for all business debts.
Curtilage is the land adjacent to the exempt principal home. A certain amount of curtilage is disregarded for the assets test.. The amount of curtilage that is exempt depends on whether the private land use test described in section 5LA(3) of the VEA, or the extended land use test described in section 5LA(4) of the VEA, is satisfied. Under the private land use test, up to two hectares on the same title as the principal home may be exempt. Under the extended land use test, all land on the same title as the principal home may be exempt.
The principal home has the meaning given by subsection 5LA(1) of the VEA and subsection 5LA(2) of the VEA. The principal home of a person is generally the place in which they reside. In certain circumstances, however, the principal home of a person can be the place in which they formerly resided. The following property is regarded as part of the principal home.
- the residence itself (e.g. house, flat, caravan),
- permanent fixtures (e.g. stoves, built-in heaters, dish-washers, light fittings and affixed carpets),
- [glossary:curtilage:DEF/Curtilage] (i.e. two hectares or less of private land around the home where the private land use test has been satisfied, or all land held on the same title as the person's principal home where the extended land use test has been satisfied), or
- any garage, shed, tennis court or swimming pool used primarily for private purposes provided it is on the same title as the principal home.