Debt repayment waiver a boost for farmers
• Most Farm Household Allowance debts between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2020 will be eligible for a waiver
• The waiver eliminates the negative effects of debts caused by farmers who, in good faith, incorrectly estimated their business income (Business Income Reconciliation)
• Some farmers who have already been repaying these debts could be eligible for a refund
The Australian Government continues to back farmers in hardship by passing legislation today that waives the majority of Farm Household Allowance debts caused when incorrectly estimating business income.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said this waiver draws a line under a complicated process and will help farmers get back on their feet and grow their businesses.
“Business Income Reconciliation debts result from asking famers to make difficult predictions about their income for the year ahead,” Minister Littleproud said.
“Acting in good faith, some farmers underestimated their income and incurred a debt.
“With many Farm Household Allowance recipients impacted by droughts, floods and bushfires in the last few years, these debts are the last thing they need. “Removing Business Income Reconciliation was one of the recommendations the government adopted from the farmer-led review of the Farm Household Allowance.
“Since 1 July 2020, farmers and their partners no longer need to complete this process. “This waiver will help Services Australia to expedite and resolve outstanding reconciliations and provide certainty to the farming community.”
Farm Household Allowance recipients will have until 30 June 2023 to provide documentation for processing. This will determine whether they are eligible for a waiver, a refund, or a top-up of their payments.
Former and current Farm Household Allowance recipients who received payments between 1 July 2015 and 30 June 2020 should make sure all their taxation documentation is compiled and ready to give to Services Australia as soon as they ask for it.
Requests for this information are anticipated to be sent from early 2022.
More information about the Farm Household Allowance can be found here:
• Since March 2014, Farm Household Allowance has paid over $635 million to more than 16,600 farmers and their partners.
• This includes almost $173 million this financial year, and close to $25 million to pay for professional advice and training.
• More than 50% of FHA recipients have not exhausted their 4 years on payment. This trend has continued in 2021 as conditions for many farmers have improved.
• 94% of people who responded to the FHA Exit Survey advised that the package of support provided has improved their circumstances in the short to medium term (12-24 months).