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5.5.2 Eligibility Criteria for Participation in RAFS
Eligibility for Qualifying Farmers
The criteria for transfer of a farm or farms under the scheme that allowed the farm property to be disregarded under the deprivation of assets rules were as follows:
- the farm(s) must have been transferred as a gift to one or more eligible descendant within a specified timeframe;
Transfer to eligible descendants
- the person who transferred the farm(s) must have been a qualifying farmer; at the time of transfer
- the transfer of the property must have taken place between 14 September 1992 and 30 June 2001 or within a specified time frame allowed in certain limited circumstances;
- the person or his or her partner was at retirement age on or before 30 June 2001;
- the total value of the farm(s) transferred, together with relevant farm assets, did not exceed $500,000;
- during the last 3 years before the transfer was completed, the eligible descendant or descendants to whom the farm(s) was transferred were actively involved in that farm;
- if the person was a member of a couple, the person's partner did not have a legal estate or interest in the farm or farms, or a legal interest in any relevant farm assets; and
- the person satisfied the farmers' income test for each of the last three financial years prior to transfer of the property.
NB If the farm transfer was after 30 June 2001 the income test years applicable were1997-1998, 1998-1999 and 1999-2000. Those given additional time to finalise the transfer after 30 June 2001, had to satisfy this pre-1 July 2001 criterion. The maximum rate of pension as at 30 June 2001 was also applicable to this group for the purposes of the farmers' income test.
Eligibility for Former Partner of a Qualifying Farmer
Where an [glossary:eligible:] [glossary:widow or:] [glossary:former partner of a qualifying farmer:] had an interest in the farm, that person may have also benefited from RAFS, even though they themselves may not have met the definition of a qualifying farmer. Such a person was still required to meet further eligibility requirements for RAFS.
Requirements that apply to a former partner
Eligibility of Widow/Widower
In most cases, a widow or widower would have met the definition of a qualifying farmer because ownership of the farm was transferred to that person upon the death of his or her partner.
Requirements that apply to a widow(er)
According to subsection 5P(1) of the VEA, an eligible descendant in relation to a person means:
- a child, step child or adopted child of the person or of a partner of the person, or
- a descendant in direct line of a child described above, or
- any other person who, in the opinion of the [glossary:Commission:DEF/Commission/Repatriation Commission], should be treated for the purposes of this definition as a person described in the above paragraph.
A person is considered to be a qualifying farmer if they have:
- held a qualifying interest in the farm for a continuous period of 15 years; or
- acquired a qualifying interest in the farm before 15 September 1997 and been actively involved in farming in Australia for any period of 20 years.
Refer to subsection 5P(3) and subsection 5P(4) of the VEA for the full definition.
According to subsection 5P(1) of the VEA, a relevant farm asset in relation to a farm, means any livestock, crop, plant or equipment that is a produce of, or is used for the purposes of, the farm enterprise.