A Yorkshire farmer who was helping a neighbour with silage making
has won a landmark victory against HM Customs and Excise over the
right to use red diesel for the work.
Historically farmers have been able to use “red” diesel
for agricultural purposes, a valuable concession worth millions
of pounds a year to the farming industry because of the lower tax
rate resulting in a cost of 37p a litre rather than £1 a
litre for white diesel on garage forecourts.
The dispute centred on the fact that while the grass had been
grown on a farmer’s land and was going to be eaten by his
stock, it had been cut by someone else who had taken it to the
farm and put it into a pit and rolled it to make silage.
Simon Catterall of Stockton on Tees solicitors, Jacksons, the
National Farmers’ Union solicitor for the North East of England,
said that this was an agricultural operation and legitimate use
of the cheaper fuel.
The Customs and VAT office refuted the submission and sought to
levy a substantial back duty penalty. When the parties could
not agree the matter was referred to the full Appeals Unit in Glasgow,
at which proceedings HM Customs capitulated and cancelled the assessment.
Greg Proll, Stokesley NFU Group Secretary said: “This is
a victory for all farmers across the country.” Mr Catterall
added: “This is an excellent result.HM Customs and Revenue
may be all-powerful but they are not infallible.”
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