A load of bull

Lamborghini tractors
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Did you know that Lamborghini made, and still make, tractors?

Well, yes, they did and yes, they do.

After World War II, when there was a high demand for agricultural machinery in much of Europe, Porsche made tractors, and even Ferrari dabbled.  Ferruccio Lamborghini started a tractor-making business in a barn using parts from salvaged military vehicles.  The money Feruccio made enabled him to start a sports-car factory and that, and the tractor business, live on today.   The cars are made in Sant’Agata Bolognese and the tractors (or, should I say, ‘trattori’) in Treviglio which is about an hour east of Milan.  Those of you who are interested can do a virtual tour of the Lamborghini tractor museum here.

If you live in the UK, you’d better make sure that you know your award-winning Nitro 130 VRT from your slightly less reliable Murcielago when pulling up at the pump.  Mistakes can be costly in more ways than the obvious call to the vehicle recovery service.

In the UK, ‘red diesel’ is dyed gas oil intended for use in registered agricultural or construction vehicles, such as tractors, excavators, and cranes.  Red diesel attracts a duty rate up to 40 per cent. lower than the undyed diesel used in ordinary road vehicles.

HMRC regularly carry out roadside checks of what’s in the tank, particularly in rural areas, and unauthorised use of red diesel incurs heavy fines.  An HMRC spokesman told the BBC that a person who used £27 of red diesel in an unauthorised vehicle could be charged a £500 penalty.  I don’t think the Fisc swoop with the same alacrity as it’s a common sight in rural France to see farmers chugging to the local bar for ‘un coup’ on their vine tractors.

Under EU rules on fiscal marking for fuels, fuel benefiting from a reduced tax rate has to be marked by coloured dye.  Needless to say, in the harmonised EU, colours vary.  For agricultural diesel France uses blue, Portugal, green, and the UK, red.

For the last year or so we’ve been thinking of moving to deepest Kent and, as you would expect from a tax lawyer, I’ve carried out extensive research, consisting mainly of buying the complete series of ‘The Darling Buds of May’ on DVD and looking at oast houses on Zoopla.  Meanwhile, my partner has been drooling over Tractor Magazine and endlessly rewatching the Top Gear tractor challenge.

Tractors are also exempt from vehicle excise duty provided that they are only used for journeys of not more than 1.5 kilometres on the public road between land that’s occupied by the same person.

So, as long as we buy a small farm as well as the village pub, it’s going to be perfick!


Tax lawyer specialising in business tax, SDLT and VAT

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