Friday, 17 June 2011

HMRC versus Hartland Farmer

A north Devon farmer who mows a local football pitch for free has been fined £250 for having red diesel in the tractor he used for the work.
John Thorne has been mowing the Hartland Football Club's field for free every fortnight for a year.
His tractor was examined by customs officials earlier this week.
HM Revenue and Customs said it was illegal to use it for mowing as it was was purely for agricultural, horticultural and forestry use.
However in December 2010 the following occurred:-
FARMERS are being allowed to use red diesel in their tractors to help grit and clear snow from public roads during the extreme weather, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced.  
This suggests that HMRC does have some discretion in these matters so why did 3 people from HMRC travel over 50 miles to enforce this petty action?
The rules surrounding red diesel appear to be unique to HMRC, generally relating to the vehicle and not the use of that vehicle. The vehicle classifications do not even coincide necessarily with those of the DVLA. You can use red diesel if the tractor had been transported to the playing fields. You can use red diesel if the tractor was purely designed for grass cutting and not used for any other purpose. You can’t use red diesel if the tractor is normally used for something else but temporarily is used with a mower attachment. What utter nonsense!!!
Bournemouth Council had a similar issue in 2008 but were advised that it would cost too much to fight.  
I do not feel that the actions taken by HMRC, who are in reality public servants employed by all of us, is not a good use of our funds and individuals who embark on this type of action should be fired as I no longer want to pay the wages of time wasters such as these.

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