Farmers and landowners should get on with putting their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) submissions together before the deadline on 15 June or face financial penalties for late submissions.

In April, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced a one-month extension to the deadline for 2020 BPS applications in England to allow for the disruption caused by COVID-19.

Farmers in Wales also received the month’s extension but as of last month, there are still some 15,000 farmers and landowners in England and Wales who have not yet submitted their BPLS claims.

Apart from the potential penalties, claimants should make their submissions as early as possible to ease pressure on the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and give them time to process the claims so they can make prompt payments when the window opens on 1 December. The body has said it is “fully focused” on making payments to the rural community and helping customers to submit their claims.

The 15 June date also applies for farmers submitting claims for Countryside Stewardship (CS), Environmental Stewardship (ES) and woodland revenue legacy payments.

Even if farmers have submitted their claim, they can still amend it, if necessary, so now would be a good time to check that they have correctly filled in the forms and have supplied the necessary supporting documentation, such as receipts.

The period for making amendments without penalty has been extended to midnight 30 June 2020. The final deadline for making amendments, with penalties, has been extended to midnight on 10 July 2020.

For help and advice on matters relating to the agriculture sector, contact our expert team at Smailes Goldie today.

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