• Exceptional circumstances, disasters and drought

    An exceptional circumstances declaration and corresponding exceptional circumstances certificate allowed you to access your farm management deposits (FMDs) early while still retaining the tax benefits.

    Before 1 July 2014, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry could declare an area as being 'in exceptional circumstances', however the Minister no longer makes such declarations.

    To find out about government assistance available to farmers experiencing hardship:

    Natural disasters

    If you are affected by a natural disaster, you can access your FMDs within 12 months of making those deposits, without having to cancel your tax deduction. However, you will need to include the deposit as assessable income in the year you withdraw it.

    To be eligible, you must hold a farm management deposit and meet all of the following requirements. You must:

    • have made a deposit before the relevant natural disaster
    • have received assistance through a primary producer Category C recovery grant under the Natural disaster relief and recovery arrangements (NDRRA)
    • withdraw your deposit after the recovery assistance was first provided (but within 12 months of making the deposit).

    See also:

    Severe drought

    If your primary production property is experiencing severe drought, you can access your FMDs within 12 months of making those deposits, without having to cancel your tax deduction. However, the deposit will need to be included as assessable income in the year you withdraw it.

    To be eligible, you must hold a FMD and meet all of the following requirements. You must:

    • have made a deposit in the previous income year
    • have held the deposit for at least six months
    • be able to demonstrate an area of your primary production property has been affected by rainfall for that six-month period within the lowest 5% of recorded rainfall for the property.
    • not be involved solely in primary production industries like fishing, pearling, tree felling or tree transporting.

    You can determine if your primary production property meets the rainfall test at a particular time by using the FMD rainfall analyser on the Bureau of Meteorology website. You can print out a report from this tool which we will accept as evidence of your property's FMD rainfall status at that particular time.

    See also:

    More information

    For more information about the farm management deposit scheme:

    • phone us on 13 28 66
    • write to us at

    PO Box 3000
    PENRITH NSW 2740

    If you do not speak English well and need our help, phone the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50.

    If you are deaf, or have a hearing or speech impairment, phone us through the National Relay Service (NRS) on the numbers listed below.

    • TTY users – phone 13 36 77 and ask for the ATO number you need
    • Speak and Listen (speech-to-speech relay) users – phone 1300 555 727 and ask for the ATO number you need
    • Internet relay users – connect to the NRS on relayservice.com.auExternal Link and ask for the ATO number you need.
      Last modified: 24 Aug 2016QC 27154