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HMRC internal manual

Inheritance Tax Manual

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Agricultural Holdings Act 1986: Exceptions to statutory protection

There are some types of ‘agreement’ that will not be converted into an agricultural tenancy. These are:

Grazing and mowing agreements

It should be noted that the guidance in this section does not apply to arrangements entered into after 1/9/95 following the 1995 act.

Under AHA1986/S2 (3)(a) a tenancy or licence to occupy agricultural land does not take effect as an annual tenancy if it is made in contemplation of the use of the land only for grazing or mowing (or both) during some specified period of the year which is no longer than 364 days.

An exempt grazing agreement can be renewed on successive occasions, provided that there is no express or implied understanding that it will be renewed. However, if, for instance, the parties purported to create an exempt grazing agreement but agree that the grazier can remain in occupation for several years, the inference will be that the latter will receive a series of agreements totalling several years. If this is the case then AHA1986/S3 will apply to continue the agreement on expiry as a protected annual tenancy. (IHTM24211). So, in reality the parties will have contemplated using the land for grazing for longer than a specified period of one year, and AHA1986/S2 (3) cannot apply. In these circumstances a protected tenancy would arise. (It might be difficult in practice to argue this point however unless the occupier was actually claiming that he had protection under the AHA at the date of death).

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Ministry Consents

An agreement which has approval from the Minister (Minister of Agriculture or, in Wales, the Welsh Office) will be outside the protection of the Act. These are rare in practice now and cannot be granted after 1 September 1995.

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Tenancies granted to office holders

AHA1986/S1 (1) excludes from the definition of an agricultural holding (IHTM24220) any contract of tenancy ‘under which the land is let to the tenant during his continuance in any office, appointment or employment held under the landlord’. So, an agricultural holding will not be created, where a landlord appoints a manager to run his farm for him and pays him a salary or a proportion of the profits of the business.