At worst, a farmer can lose three years of direct payment due to an administrative fine applied by the Department of Agriculture.
That’s how long the department has to recover monies owed — the three years following the year in which a determination of fine is made. Any outstanding balance at the end of this three-year period is cancelled.
Under EU tegulations the department is required to recover any monies resulting from the application of reductions and/or penalties.
It is obliged to recover the amount from either the payment due for the calendar year of application, or from payments due in future calendar years, if not already repaid in full by the applicant.
In the vast majority of cases, the penalty represents a reasonably low percentage of the payment due.
If the timing of the penalty is such that any review is carried out before payment falls due, then payment is made in full if the penalty decision is overturned on review/appeal.
Where a reduced payment or no payment has issued, and the outcome of the review/appeal process results in a change to the reduction/penalty originally applied, any monies owing are calculated and processed as a matter of urgency.
There is no specific provision in EU regulations governing the right of farmers to seek a review of decisions relating to penalties or to appeal the outcome of any review to the independentappeals office.
The review and appeals machinery was introduced by the Department of Agriculture with a view to ensuring that every decision to impose penalties could be challenged by individual farmers.
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