Ticking all the boxes: Farmer sees €2,900 BPS penalty waived

A farmer who did not tick a box relating to a section of his Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) application – resulting in a €2,937 non-compliance penalty – recouped the majority of his payment after the the penalty was waived following a complaint to the Office of the Ombudsman.

This case was revealed by the Ombudsman’s Office in its Annual Report 2017.

The office details in its report that a man complained to the Ombudsman when the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine imposed a penalty on his Basic Payment Scheme application in April 2016.

He had not ticked the compliance box under the ‘Ecological Focus Area’ on his online application. This resulted in a non-compliance penalty of €2,937.

His appeal of the decision was refused as the department said he had been notified of the error on its online system and he could have rectified the mistake.

After the Ombudsman asked the department to review the application the department discovered that the man had not been registered for the ‘business notification text’ or email alerts on the system.

The ‘business notification’ would have alerted the man to revisit the department’s online system and check for the error.

The complaint was upheld because the man was not registered for ‘business notification texts’ or emails. The Department agreed to waive the penalty of €2,937 and pay the man the remainder of his Basic Payment.

A standard deduction of €74 was made under the EU Financial Crisis Reserve scheme so the man received €2,863.

The man has now completed the department’s ‘business notification’ form which gives it permission to use his contact details for future notifications, the report concluded.