Agricultural accountants warn farmers to act on auto-enrolment

East of England-based specialist agricultural accountants Moore Thompson are urging farmers that they must prepare themselves for pensions auto-enrolment or face severe penalties.

Auto-enrolment requires employers to automatically enrol staff into a qualifying workplace pension scheme in the coming years.

Each business will have a staging date for auto-enrolment depending on their size and number of employees, while many will have already completed the process.

Andrew Heskin, an agricultural specialist and partner at chartered accountants Moore Thompson, which has offices in Spalding, Wisbech and Market Deeping, said: “For farmers and businesses with 49 or fewer workers, auto-enrolment responsibilities will begin from June 2015.

“But even though the date when your business is affected may still seem a long way off, it’s sensible to start planning for auto-enrolment at an early stage.

“By taking action now, when the time does come to start automatically enrolling your eligible workers into a qualifying workplace pension, you will be ready to hit the ground running.

“Farmers need to wary that if they fail to prepare they could face significant penalties from The Pensions Regulator. If a “statutory notice” is issued for non-compliance and then ignored, firms with between five and 49 employees will be fined £500 a day, while firms with one to four employees will receive a daily fine of £50.

“Farmers cannot afford to ignore the warnings, and our advice is to find out as early as possible what their requirements are, making sure any existing payroll arrangements are suitable for automatic enrolment.”

Being at the heart of the Fens, Moore Thompson has always provided specialist accountancy advice to agricultural and horticultural businesses with an agricultural team that knows the farming business inside and out.

To find out more about auto-enrolment please click here.