• The Farmers Accountant

Agristarter Loans, ATO Scams, and Emergency Drought Transport Subsidy

Agristarter Loans

One of the branches of the Regional Investment Corporation loan offering is the AgriStarter Loans. These loans will open from 1 January 2021 with the stated purpose of “to support the next generation of Australian farmers”.

Up to $2 million can be borrowed using the AgriStarter Loan over 10 years with the first five years interest only, followed by five years principal and interest repayments. $75 million will be available for the Agristarter loan this financial year. The money will be available to assist in buying an existing farm business, undertaking succession arrangements or establishing a new farm business.

As per normal RIC requirements, applicants must demonstrate that they are in need of financial assistance and have sound prospects of long term viability.

We don’t have a lot of details on this currently but the RIC do plan to release a significant amount of additional information from 1 January 2020. Your interest can be registered by clicking here:


ATO Scams

We have noticed lately that there are a lot of ATO scams making the rounds and they are starting to get a lot more convincing - even with ATO text messages that say ATO on your mobile phone. A few tricks and tips to regarding the ATO:

  1. The ATO never send unsolicited pre-recorded messages or threaten you with immediate arrest.

  2. Never give out personal information to the ATO. Ask them to ring the accountant where we can verify your details over the phone securely.

  3. Calls originating from the ATO do not show a number on caller ID. Make sure you only ever call back on an independently sourced number. Don't phone a number shown on caller ID or in your call log.

  4. The ATO will never insist you stay on the line until the payment is made.

  5. The ATO will never prevent you from discussing your tax affairs with your tax agent or advisor.

  6. If you believe the call to be a scam, you can ask them to ring your accountant. The ATO always has our phone number - you never have to give this out. Otherwise simply hang up and ring the ATO back on your phone to confirm if the call was real.

The ATO will sometimes use phone, email and SMS to get in touch with you, but if you're unsure whether an ATO interaction is genuine, do not reply. You should phone the ATO on 1800 008 540 to check if it is really from them.


Emergency Drought Transport Subsidy

Many primary producers have had the benefit of making claims against the Drought Transport Subsidy in the past. The final round (Round 3) is closing on 31 December 2020 or when funds are exhausted. Claims for funding must be made by 31 January 2021 for freight movements up to 31 December 2020.

The eligible costs are as follows:

  • Transporting of stock to agistment;

  • Returning stock from agistment;

  • Transport of stock to sale or slaughter;

  • Transport of fodder for stock to properties;

  • Transport of stock and domestic drinking water

  • Transport of farm chemicals (from 1 July 2019);

  • Transport of fertiliser (from 1 July 2019);

  • Transport of seed (from 1 July 2019);

  • Transport of purchased stock to the farm business (from 1 July 2020)

It is worth noting that this is an expanded list from 1 July 2019 to include chemicals, fertiliser and seed. If you do your own carting, claims can be made for $5 per kilometre.

If you have claims to be made, make sure your applications are in prior to the end of January. CLICK HERE for further information on this.