Englishfarmers are being urged to put their businesses in a good position for upcomingEU support payments changes by making their Single Payment Scheme (SPS)applications online this year.
Thewindow for online applications opened today (20/2) and the Rural PaymentsAgency (RPA) is encouraging claimants to join the 55,800 people who havealready discovered how quick and easy it is to make their applicationselectronically.
TheAgencys free SPS Online service offers an automatic check for common errors,the peace of mind of an instant online receipt and confirmation email, and ispostage free. Farmers who have not previously applied online are being sentstarter packs, containing a PIN and a guide on how to log on to the service, tohelp them make the move to electronic applications.
RPAInformation and Technology Director Ed Schofield said: Most farmers now chooseto transact electronically because it makes good business sense. Applying for SPSelectronically in 2014 will build up confidence in the online process and putfarmers in a strong position for changes to come under the new Basic PaymentScheme.
SPSOnline is easy to access, faster and more secure and applicants used to paperforms will find the online layout familiar but with a few extra benefits, suchas built in checks and an instant receipt.
Once anonline application is confirmed as being received, customers can use SPS Onlineto track their claim to see if the RPA is waiting for additional informationfrom them to be able to process the application. They can also view and printclaim and entitlements statements for previous years – as far back as 2009 -even if those original applications were made on paper.
Onlinecustomers should look out for the SPS 2014 Supplement Handbook and BasicPayment Scheme (BPS) insert being sent by email in the coming days. These areimportant documents which should be saved in a safe place. They will also beavailable on the RPA website.
Thesupplement contains important reminders and new information about the currentscheme. The BPS insert includes important information about entitlements(including details on trading for the rest of 2014) and crop diversification,which could affect future claims, for the new scheme, which starts next year.Paper copies will be sent in March to farmers and agents who did not applyelectronically last year.
All SPSapplications, whether online or on paper, must reach RPA by midnight on 15 Mayto avoid late application penalties. Once youve sent your application, you canmake certain changes by writing to us or emailing us. These must be received bymidnight on 2 June to avoid penalties being applied. Applications and changescan be made until midnight on 9 June, however penalties will be applied.Applications received after this date will not be accepted. Customers shouldalso note that RPA must receive RLE1 forms by midnight on April 2 forentitlements transfers to be effective for 2014 scheme.
Demand for Drop-in Centres has decreased as more applicants have made the moveonline, and therefore the Agency will not be opening any this year. RPA adviceon paper applications is to post them in good time by special or recordeddelivery.
20 Feb:SPS 2014 window opens for online applicants.
12March: Paper application pack distribution begins.
2 April:RPA must receive RLE1 forms by midnight on this date for entitlements transfersto be effective for 2014 scheme.
15 May: SPS applications must reach RPA by midnight on this date.
2 June:Certain changes can be made to applications that have been sent to RPA bywriting to or emailing RPA. Changes received by midnight on this date will notbe subjected to penalties.
9 June: RPA can accept your application or any changes until midnight on thisdate. However, penalties will be applied. Applications received after this datewill not be accepted.