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Tax relief for drought affected farmers

Revenue Minister Stuart Nash has confirmed tax relief measures will be extended to farmers in drought areas.

In late December and early January the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor classified the drought as a medium-scale adverse event across Taranaki, parts of Manawatu-Whanganui and Wellington, and the Grey and Buller districts of the South Island’s West Coast.

Local authorities affected by the drought classification are: Stratford, New Plymouth, South Taranaki, Whanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu, Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Kapiti Coast, Upper Hutt, Porirua, Wellington, Lower Hutt, Grey and Buller.

Mr Nash says the declaration of an adverse event allows government agencies to step up with additional support for farmers and growers in affected areas.

“We know the rural community is having a tough time. Many farmers will have more urgent issues on their minds than tax compliance. Inland Revenue has confirmed there will be greater flexibility and assistance for those affected. I am pleased that IR is able to respond in a more accommodating way.

“I strongly encourage any farmers who are struggling to meet their tax obligations because of the adverse conditions to talk to their accountant and engage with Inland Revenue. We acknowledge the scale of the challenges faced by farmers in exceptionally dry conditions.

“If any farmer has concerns, please talk to the experts who can help,” Mr Nash says.

Inland Revenue will allow farmers in drought areas to make late income equalisation deposits for the 2016-2017 income tax year. They will also be able to apply for early refunds. This allows farmers to smooth out fluctuations in their income from year to year.

“Farmers can now better plan their financial response to the drought conditions. Tax rules are able to take account of extraordinary events like droughts, floods or earthquakes. It is important to acknowledge the reality of the situation that farmers face,” Mr Nash says.