I wanted to share a positive new change to the farm tax assessment process that I learned about at the Islands Agriculture Show last weekend. This was the second year for the IAS, which combines a trade show with workshop sessions. Every seat in the session I attended on farm tax assessments was taken, a good indication that there is a lot of interest in this topic.
There are several changes being made to the property assessment process for farms this year. For a full summary, check out the the BC Assessment webpage. One of the most interesting is the change to allow retired farmers who continue to live on their farms to claim a tax exemption for their dwellings.
Succession is a huge issue for many farms and farmers often struggle to find ways to pass farmland on to their children, while keeping it in agriculture. The change to allow exemptions for retired farmers represents one more tool to aid this process.
In order to take advantage of this tax exemption, farmers (and/or their spouses) must have been farming on the property that they have owned for at least 20 years and they must be at least 65 years of age. The property in question must be in the ALR and a portion of that property must continue to be farmed.
I noticed a number of different succession planning resources available at various venders at the IAS trade show, including the Family Farm Business Succession Plan Checklist, which has been a great resource for a number of years and has now been updated. It is also available online as a pdf by clicking here.
Thanks to the Islands Agriculture Show for a great workshop session and for putting on what looks to become an established event for the Cowichan Valley!