With the year quickly coming to end, farmers continue to ask Congress to reinstate and make permanent a number of expired tax provisions that help improve the economic viability and stability of food, fiber and fuel production. Among those provisions are section 179 small business expensing and bonus depreciation, which farmers need to help them make business purchases while dealing with uncontrollable weather and unpredictable markets that farm profitability.
Earlier this fall, Farm Bureau and more than 2,000 other companies and organizations sent a letter to lawmakers explaining why continuing these provisions, most of which expired at the end of 2014, is so important.
“Failure to extend these provisions is a tax increase,” the groups wrote. “It will inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace. Acting promptly on this matter will provide important predictability necessary for economic growth.”
More recently, in a letter to House and Senate leaders, Farm Bureau urged them to promptly pass legislation to permanently extend “tax provisions that are critically important to farm and ranch businesses as they engage in year-end business taxes and prepare to file their 2015 taxes.”
“Only with passage will farmers have the certainty they need to make long-term business decisions that will grow and expand their operations,” the group continued.
In July, the Senate Finance Committee extended through 2016 a package of tax provisions, including a number of those important to farmers and ranchers.
The Farm Bureau-supported provisions in the tax extender package include:
· Section 179 Small Business Expensing: The maximum amount that a small business can immediately expense when purchasing business assets instead of depreciating them over time is $25,000. Last year, the maximum amount was $500,000, reduced dollar for dollar when expenditures exceed $2 million.
· Bonus Depreciation: An additional 50 percent bonus depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets, including agricultural equipment.
· Incentives for renewable fuels and energy, including biodiesel, wind power and refueling property.
· An enhanced deduction for donated food.
· A provision encouraging donations of conservation easements.
On the House side, in February lawmakers in that chamber passed the permanent extension of Section 179 small business expensing (H.R. 636), the tax deduction for donating food (H.R. 644) and the tax deduction for donating conservation easements (H.R. 644).
In addition, the House Ways and Means Committee in September approved a bill (H.R. 2510) to permanently extend 50 percent bonus deprecation. The measure would also expand the provision to include fruit- and nut-bearing plants with pre-productive periods of two or more years.