“Farm Office Live” returns Monday, April 13 at 8:00 p.m.

OSU Extension is pleased to be offering a second “Farm Office Live” session on Monday evening, April 13, 2020 from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.  Farmers, educators, and ag industry professionals are invited to log-on for the latest updates on the issues impact our farm economy.

The session will begin with the Farm Office Team answering questions asked over the past week.  Topics to be highlighted include:

  • Update on the CARES Paycheck Protection Program
  • Update on the Dairy Economy
  • Examination of how COVID-19 is impacting agricultural exports
  • Bureau of Workers Compensation’s announcement  of dividend returns
  • A look at the long term macro economic impact of COVID-19
  • Will property taxes be delayed?
  • Potential Legal Impacts of COVID-19

Plenty of time has been allotted for questions and answers from attendees. Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss the on-line office hours, the session recording can be accessed at farmoffice.osu.edu the following day.  Please register at  https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive 

The OSU Farm Office is Open! COVID-19 and Other Hot Topics on Monday, April 6 at 8:00 p.m.

As you may know, Ohio State’s campuses and offices are closed.  But we are all working away at home, and our virtual offices are still open for business.  Starting Monday April 6th, the OSU Farm Office Team  will open our offices online and offer weekly live office hours from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m.  We’ll provide you with short updates on emerging topics and help answer your questions about the farm economy.   Each evening will start off with a quick 10-15-minute summary of select farm management topics from our experts and then we’ll open it up for questions and answers from attendees on other topics of interest.

Who’s on the Farm Office Team?  Our team features OSU experts ready to help you run your farm office:

  • Peggy Kirk Hall — agricultural law
  • Dianne Shoemaker — farm business analysis and dairy production
  • Ben Brown — agricultural economics
  • David Marrison — farm management
  • Barry Ward  — agricultural economics and tax

Each office session is limited to 500 people and if you miss our office hours, we’ll post recordings on farmoffice.osu.edu the following day.  Register at  https://go.osu.edu/farmofficelive.  We look forward to seeing you there!

The CARES Act’s Paycheck Protection Program for Small Businesses

By:Peggy Kirk Hall, Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law , Associate Professor, Agricultural & Resource Law

We love blogging about agricultural law, but sometimes we don’t feel the need to interpret a law that one of our colleagues has already explained perfectly.  Such is the case with an article about the new Paycheck Protection Program recently enacted by Congress in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Our colleague Kristine Tidgren at Iowa State’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation has written an excellent explanation of the new loan program here.

A few questions about the Paycheck Protection Program that Kristine answers in detail in her blog post are:

  • Who’s eligible for the loans?  Any small business concern, business concern, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, veterans’ organization or tribal business concern employing 500 or fewer employees and eligible self-employed individuals including independent contractors may apply for a loan.  Farm businesses with less than 500 employees fit within these eligibility parameters.
  • How much are the loans?  The program has a maximum loan amount of the lesser of either $10 million or 250% of the average monthly payroll costs in the one year prior to the loan plus refinanced Economic Injury Disaster loans received after 1/31/20.
  • What can the loans be used for?  Certain payroll costs, as well as group health care benefits, salaries, commissions and similar compensation, mortgage interest, rent, utilities, and other previous debt obligations.
  • What are the terms?  The loans have a maximum maturity of 10 years and the interest rate can’t exceed 4%.  Lenders have to defer both interest and principal payments for at least the first 6 months.  Note the forgiveness provisions below, however.
  • What about loan forgiveness?  A borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness in an amount equal to the sum of certain payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utility payments made during the 8-week period after the loan’s origination date.  The loan forgiveness can’t exceed the principal amount and is subject to a number of reduction factors, which Kristine explains.
  • What considerations apply to loan approval?  In reviewing loan applications, a lender must consider whether the borrower was in operation on Feb. 15, 2020 and had employees for whom the borrower paid salaries and payroll taxes.  Applicants must also certify that the uncertainty of current economic conditions makes the loan request necessary to support ongoing operations; funds will be used to retain workers and pay eligible expenses; the applicant does not have an application pending for another loan for the same purpose; and that the applicant has not received amounts under the program for the same purpose for the period of February 15 to December 31, 2020.
  • How to apply?  According to the Small Business Administration: “Businesses can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program.”   Consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.
  • When to apply?  Lenders may begin processing loan applications for most businesses as soon as April 3, 2020, and for independent contractors and self-employed individuals by April 10, 2020.
  • Where to learn more?  The Treasury Department and the Small Business Administration have posted extensive information and the application the loan program on their websites.

Watch for more resources about the CARES Act and other COVID-19 legislation here on our blog and on OSU’s Farm Office website at farmoffice.osu.edu.

January is a Great Time to Complete the Farm Balance Sheet

Eric Richer, OSUE Fulton County

 The balance sheet is a “snap shot” in time of your farm’s financial position, including what assets you own and how they are financed. The balance sheet is also known as the net worth statement. When completed precisely and timely, the balance sheet and corresponding ratios can be a very valuable tool to determine farm financial health. The balance sheet objectively measures farm business growth, liquidity, solvency, and risk capacity.

Categorizing Balance Sheet Items

The assets and liabilities on the balance sheet (including the financing of the assets) are used to determine the equity, or net worth, of the farm owner. The owner’s equity is used by lenders and insurers to determine a farm business’ value.  There are two ways to calculate the owner’s equity, or net worth. The first simply subtracts the liabilities from the assets:

Assets – Liabilities = Owner’s Equity

The second calculation adds the owner’s equity with liabilities to determine the assets:

Liabilities + Owner’s Equity = Assets

Terms of Assets and Liabilities

Beyond the broad categories of either an asset or liability, a balance sheet categorizes items into “time compartments” or terms of useful life. Useful life is a term for the amount of time an item can be utilized for the farm business. Depreciation allocates the cost of this asset over its useful life. Both assets and liabilities can be categorized into current, intermediate, and long, or fixed, terms of useful life.

Assets – Current assets can be converted to cash in one year or less. Common current assets are cash, growing crops, harvested crop inventory, market livestock, accounts receivable, and other similar items. Intermediate assets have an assumed useful life or depreciable value of one to ten years. Common intermediate assets are breeding livestock, machinery and equipment, titled vehicles, and not-readily-marketable bonds and securities. Long term, or fixed, assets are typically permanent items with value—depreciable or not—for more than ten years and include farmland, buildings, farmsteads, and other similar items.

Liabilities – Current liabilities are obligations that are due and payable in the next twelve months. Most common current liabilities include accounts payable (bills), credit card bills, operating lines of credit, accrued interest, and the current portion of principal on loans due this year. Intermediate liabilities are obligations that due to be paid back within one to ten years and are usually associated with intermediate farm assets on the left side of the balance sheet. Common intermediate liabilities are the principal remaining on machinery and equipment loans or breeding livestock purchases. Finally, long term, or fixed, liabilities are debts with terms greater than ten years like the principal balance remaining on a farmland or building mortgage.

Assets: Market Value vs. Cost Value

Market value – Today’s market values minus selling costs are used to determine market value. For example, a fully depreciated 15-year-old tractor certainly has a current market value greater than zero. A realistic current market value for this tractor can be obtained with an appraisal, or by looking at current sales of similar tractors online. Similarly, farmland bought 30 years ago likely has a different current market value today. In general, lenders may prefer the use of current market values in a balance sheet for asset valuation.

Cost value – The net book value, or the cost of the item minus accumulated depreciation, is the cost value. For example, a fully depreciated 15-year-old tractor has a cost value of $0 in a cost based balance sheet. No appraisal is needed; only record the cost minus accumulated depreciation. Farmland (a non-depreciable, long term asset) purchased 30 years ago has a balance sheet value of the purchase cost.  In general, accountants prefer cost value balance sheets as a more clear reflection of business success, based on business decisions rather than inflation, depreciation, or appreciation of investments.

In a precisely completed balance sheet, the cost value and the market value columns usually produce different total asset values.

Keys to Completing the Balance Sheet

Several keys can help farmer improve their accuracy, effectiveness, and efficiency for completing year-end balance sheets.

  • Complete the balance sheet on the same date each year, usually as of December 31st. The information will never be more accurate than immediately after the end of the year.
  • Inventory all assets, including standard weight and measure units (ie. Lbs, head, bushels, bales, etc).
  • Utilize current market prices for crop and livestock inventories.
  • Calculate cost value for growing crops.
  • Include government payments and insurance indemnities yet to be received in accounts receivable.
  • Apply conservative breeding livestock values, avoiding large year-to-year changes.
  • Maintain a separate, easy-to-update depreciation schedule for depreciable assets.

Balance Sheet Tools

Balance Sheet Ratios to Evaluate Financial Health

The scorecard uses these three accounting statement to determine financial ratios and measurements to benchmark a farm operation against acceptable industry standards.

References:

Hachfeld, G. A., D.B. Bau, C.R. Holcomb. 2016. Balance Sheet. Farm Financial Series, #1, University of Minnesota Extension.

Langemeier, M. R. 2011. Balance Sheet—A Financial Management Tool. MF-291, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University Extension. Available online at: www.agmanager.info

Farm Tax Update to be held in Coshocton County

OSU Extension in Coshocton County is pleased to be offering a Farm Tax Update on Monday, December 2 2019 from 7:00 to 8:37 p.m. at the Coshocton County Services Building – Room 145 located at 724 South 7th Street in Coshocton, Ohio.

OSU Extension Educator David Marrison will provide a Farm Tax Update. We will examine year farm tax strategies and learn more about the new Section 199A deduction for Qualified Business Income.  It is not business as usual in the world of farm taxes. Wrap up the year learning how to better manage your farm taxes.

This program is free & open to the public!  However, courtesy reservations are requested so program materials can be prepared. Call 740-622-2265 to RSVP or for more information.

Ohio CAUV Values Projected to Decline Through 2020

The Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) program allows farmland devoted exclusively to commercial agriculture to be taxed based on their value in agriculture, rather than the full market value, resulting in a substantially lower tax bill for the farmer.

The formula for CAUV values incorporates agricultural factors (soil types, yields, prices, and non-land costs for corn, soybeans, and wheat) to calculate the capitalized net returns to farming land based on the previous 5 to 10 years. CAUV underwent large-scale changes to its calculation in 2017 that was targeted to reduce the property tax burden of farmland.

A new report, Ohio CAUV Values Projected to Decline Through 2020, shows the projection of CAUV values though 2020. According to the study authors, OSU agricultural economists Robert Dinterman and Ani Katchova forecast a decrease in the assessed value of agricultural land to an average CAUV value of approximately $600 in 2020.

Access this report at:

https://aede.osu.edu/sites/aede/files/publication_files/CAUVProjectionsFall2019.pdf

Agricultural & Natural Resources Income Tax Issues Webinar

by: Barry Ward, Director, OSU Income Tax Schools

Tax practitioners, farmers and farmland owners are encouraged to connect to the Agricultural and Natural Resources Income Tax Issues Webinar on Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by Ohio State University Extension and participants can attend the webinar at host locations throughout Ohio or connect at home or office.

The webinar focuses on issues specific to farm tax returns related to agriculture and natural resources, and will highlight timely topics and key regulations of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

The program is an intermediate-level course for tax preparers whose clients include farmers and rural landowners. Farmers who prepare and file their own taxes will also benefit from the webinar.

Topics in the Ag Tax Issues Workbook that is provided to all participants include:

Tax planning for farmers

Proposed §199A Cooperative Regulations

199A and farm rentals

Form 4797 issues

Form 4562 depreciation and expensing issues

Disaster-related tax issues

Farming C corporations electing S corporation status

Getting out of the farming business

Allocating purchase price to depreciable items

Discounted sales and leases

Current H2A labor issues

Taxation of contract feeding arrangements

Industrial hemp considerations

Timber tax issues

Conservation easements

Case study and forms update

The cost for the one-day school is $150, and applications have been made for the following continuing education credits:

  • Accountancy Board of Ohio, CPAs (6 hours)
  • Office of Professional Responsibility, IRS (6 hours)
  • Supreme Court of Ohio, Attorneys (5 hours)

Registration includes the Agricultural Tax Issues Workbook. The deadline to register is Dec. 6 to ensure participants will receive the workbook in the mail before the workshop. The live webinar, which will also feature a real-time Q-and-A, can be viewed at several host locations statewide and will include lunch. Participants also have the option to view the webinar from home if unable to attend a host location. For those who choose not to attend at a host location, a web address for the webinar will be sent in advance of the Dec. 16 presentation.

Host locations include:

Auglaize County, OSU Extension Office, 208 S. Blackhoof St., Wapakoneta

Clermont County, OSU Extension Office, 1000 Locust St., Owensville

Putnam County, OSU Extension Office, 1206 E. Second St., Ottawa

Wayne County, Wayne County Administration Building, 428 West Liberty St., Wooster

Wyandot County, Elks Lodge, 320 E. Wyandot Ave., Upper Sandusky

More information on the workshop, including how to register, can be found at go.osu.edu/agissuesreg

Contact Barry Ward at 614-688-3959, ward.8@osu.edu or Julie Strawser at 614-292-2433, strawser.35@osu.edu with questions.

 

 

OSU Extension Announces Two-Day Tax Schools for Tax Practitioners & Agricultural & Natural Resources Income Tax Issues Webinar

by: Barry Ward & Julie Strawser, OSU Income Tax Schools

How to deal with the new tax law (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act) for both individuals and businesses are among the topics to be discussed during the upcoming Tax School workshop series offered throughout Ohio in late October, November and December.

The annual series is designed to help tax preparers learn about federal tax law changes and updates for this year as well as learn more about issues they may encounter when filing individual and small business 2019 tax returns.

The tax schools are intermediate-level courses that focus on interpreting tax regulations and changes in tax laws to help tax preparers, accountants, financial planners and attorneys advise their clients. The schools offer continuing education credit for certified public accountants, enrolled agents, attorneys, annual filing season preparers and certified financial planners.

This is another important year for tax education as the new tax law continues to create some challenges for tax practitioners to prepare tax returns. We have an excellent set of instructors with a great deal of experience and training along with a top reference workbook to prepare tax practitioners to best serve their clients during this ongoing process of incorporating recent tax law changes in completing tax returns.

The workbook alone is an extremely valuable reference as it offers over 700 pages of material including helpful tables and examples that will be valuable to practitioners. Sample chapters of the reference workbook can be found at: https://go.osu.edu/WorkbookChapters.

In addition to the tax schools, the program offers a separate, two-hour ethics webinar that will broadcast Dec. 11 at 1 p.m. and again on Dec. 13 at 10 a.m. The webinar is $25 for school attendees and $50 for non-attendees and is approved by the IRS and the Ohio Accountancy Board for continuing education credit

Register two weeks prior to the school date and receive the two-day tax school early-bird registration fee of $375. This includes all materials, lunches and refreshments. The deadline to enroll is 10 business days prior to the date of each school. After the school deadline, the fee increases to $425.

Participants can also choose to attend just day one of the workshop for $250. Additionally, the 2019 RIA Federal Tax Handbook is available to purchase by participants for a discounted fee of $40 each. Registration information and the online registration portal can be found online at:
http://go.osu.edu/taxschools
The schools run from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

• Oct. 30-31 — Ole Zim’s Wagonshed, 1387 State Route 590, Gibsonburg.
• Nov. 4-5 – Sheraton Suites, 1989 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls.
• Nov. 6-7 — Ashland University Convocation Center, 820 Claremont Ave., Ashland
• Nov. 12-13 — Presidential Banquet Center, 4548 Presidential Way, Kettering.
• Nov. 14-15 — Old Barn Out Back, 3175 W. Elm St., Lima.
• Nov. 19-20 — Der Dutchman Restaurant, 445 S. Jefferson Rt. 42, Plain City.
• Nov. 21-22 – Christopher Conference Center, 20 N. Plaza Dr., Chillicothe.
• Dec. 2-3 — Ohio University, Zanesville Branch Campus Center, 1425 Newark Road, Zanesville.
• Dec. 5-6 — The Ohio State University, Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, 2201 Fred Taylor Dr, Columbus.

A daylong webinar on Ag Tax Issues will be broadcast Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  If you are a tax practitioner that represents farmers or rural landowners or are a farmer or farmland owner that prepares your own taxes, this five-hour webinar is for you. It will focus on key topics and regulations of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act related specifically to those income tax returns.

You can choose to attend a host location or participate at home or in the office. Host locations will provide a facilitator, refreshments and lunch. You are encouraged to bring your computer as there will be real-time Q&A. If you choose not to attend a host location, a web address will be e-mailed to you prior to the webinar.

Registration, which includes the Ag Tax Issues workbook, is $150. Register by mail or on-line at http://go.osu.edu/AgIssuesReg

More information on the workshops, including how to register, can be found at go.osu.edu/2019taxschools. Participants may contact Ward at 614-688-3959, ward.8@osu.edu or Julie Strawser 614-292-2433, strawser.35@osu.edu for more information.

“Ask the Expert” Area Seeks to Help Farmers at this year’s Farm Science Review

Each year, faculty and staff of The Ohio State University address some of the top farm management and veterinarian medicine challenges which Ohio farmers are facing during the “Ask the Expert” sessions held each day at the Farm Science Review at the Molly Caren Agricultural Center near London, Ohio.

The 20 minute “Ask the Expert” presentations at Farm Science Review are one segment of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the College of Veterinary Medicine comprehensive extension education efforts during the three days of the Farm Science Review which will be held September 17-19 in London, Ohio.

Our experts will share science-based recommendations and solutions to the issues growers are facing regarding weather impacts, tariffs, veterinarian medicine, and low commodity prices. Producers are encouraged to attend one or more of the sessions throughout the day.

The sessions will take place in the Ohio State Area in the center of the main Farm Science Review exhibit area located at 426 Friday Avenue. This year’s featured sessions are:

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
“Tax Strategies Under the New Tax Law” presented by Barry Ward
10:00 – 10:20 a.m.

“Climate Smart- Weather, Climate & Extremes-Oh My!” presented by Aaron Wilson
10:20 – 10:40 a.m.

“Before the Pearly Gates- Getting Your Farm Affairs in Order” presented by David Marrison
10:40 – 11:00 a.m.

“Crop Inputs & Cash Rent Outlook for 2020” presented by Barry Ward
11:00 – 11:20 a.m.

“Farm Stress-We Got Your Back” presented by Dee Jepsen
11:20 – 11:40 a.m.

“The Legal Buzz on Hemp” presented by Peggy Hall
11:40 – 12:00 noon

“Current Status of African Swine Fever” presented by Scott Kenney
Noon to 12:20 p.m.

“Farm Income Forecasts: Are Farmers Experiencing Financial Stress?” presented by Ani Katchova
12:20 – 12:40 p.m.

“How Much Money Stayed on the Farm? 2018 Ohio Corn & Soybean Production Costs” presented by Dianne Shoemaker
12:40 – 1:00 p.m.

“Where Are We on U.S. Trade Policy” presented by Ian Sheldon
1:00 – 1:20 p.m.

“Farm Accounting: Quicken or Quickbooks” presented by Wm. Bruce Clevenger
1:20 – 1:40 p.m.

“Commodity Markets – Finding Silence in the Noise” by Ben Brown
1:40 – 2:00 p.m.

“GMOs, Food Animals, and Consumers” presented by Dr. Gustavo Schuenemann
2:00 – 2:20 p.m.

“Solar Leasing Options” presented by Peggy Hall & Eric Romich
2:20 – 2:40 p.m.

“Poultry Backyard Disease Management” presented by Dr. Geoffrey Lossie
2:40 – 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
“Climate Smart- Weather, Climate & Extremes-Oh My!” presented by Aaron Wilson
10:00 – 10:20 a.m.

“The Legal Buzz on Hemp” presented by Peggy Hall
10:20 – 10:40 a.m.

“Zoonotic Diseases: Can I really get sick from my 4-H Project?” presented by Dr Jacqueline Nolting
10:40 – 11:00 a.m.

“Solar Leasing Options” presented by Peggy Hall & Eric Romich
11:00 – 11:20 a.m.

“Where Are We on U.S. Trade Policy” presented by Ben Brown
11:20 – 11:40 a.m.

“Impact of Peak Electrical Demand Charges in Agriculture” presented by Eric Romich
11:40 – 12:00 noon

“Crop Inputs & Cash Rent Outlook for 2020” presented by Barry Ward
12:00 – 12:20 p.m.

“Commodity Markets – Finding Silence in the Noise” by Ben Brown
12:20 – 12:40 p.m.

Public Perception Risk: Building Trust in Modern Agriculture by Eric Richer
12:40 – 1:00 p.m.

“Farm Stress-We Got Your Back” presented by Dee Jepsen
1:00 – 1:20 p.m.

“How Much Money Stayed on the Farm? 2018 Ohio Corn & Soybean Production Costs” presented by Dianne Shoemaker
1:20 – 1:40 p.m.

“Poultry Backyard Disease Management” presented by Dr. Geoffrey Lossie
1:40 – 2:00 p.m.

“Tax Strategies Under the New Tax Law” presented by Barry Ward
2:00 – 2:20 p.m.

“CRISPR gene editing: Are super animals within our reach?” presented by Dr. Scott Kenney
2:20 – 2:40 p.m.

“Using On-Farm Research to Make Agronomic and Return on Investment Decisions” presented by Sam Custer
2:40 – 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 19, 2019
“Horse Health Care and How to Feed a Horse” presented by Dr. Eric Schroeder
10:00 – 10:20 a.m.

“Farm Stress-We Got Your Back” presented by Dee Jepsen
10:20 – 10:40 a.m.

“Tax Strategies Under the New Tax Law” presented by Barry Ward
10:40 – 11:00 a.m.

“The Legal Buzz on Hemp” presented by Peggy Hall
11:00 – 11:20 a.m.

“Solar Leasing Options” presented by Peggy Hall & Eric Romich
11:20 – 11:40 a.m.

“Commodity Markets – Finding Silence in the Noise” by Ben Brown
11:40 – Noon

“Crop Inputs & Cash Rent Outlook for 2020” presented by Barry Ward
12:00 – 12:20 p.m.

“Antibiotic Use in Animals-Does it Impact for Human Health” presented by Dr. Greg Habing
12:20 to 12:40 p.m.

“Where Are We on U.S. Trade Policy” presented by Ben Brown
12:40 – 1:00 p.m.

“Swine Biosecurity” presented by Dr. Carlos Trincado
1:00 – 1:20 p.m.

“Nutritional Support for Ruminants in Winter” presented by Dr. Jeff Lakritz
1:20 – 1:40 p.m.

“How Much Money Stayed on the Farm? 2018 Ohio Corn & Soybean Production Costs” presented by Dianne Shoemaker
1:40 – 2:00 p.m.

The complete schedule for the Ask the Expert sessions and other events at the 2019 Farm Science Review can be found at: https://fsr.osu.edu/

Additional farm management information from OSU Extension can be found at ohioagmanager.osu.edu or farmoffice.osu.edu

Source:
David Marrison, OSU Extension
740-622-2265
Marrison.2@osu.edu

#leanonyourlandgrant

Qualified Business Income Deduction for Sales to Cooperatives – Proposed Regulations

by: Barry Ward, Leader, Production Business Management
Director, OSU Income Tax Schools

Soon after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act became law in December of 2017 it became evident that cooperatives had been granted a significant advantage under the new tax law. Sales to cooperatives would be allowed a Qualified Business Income Deduction (QBID) of 20% of gross income and not of net income. Sales to businesses other than cooperatives would be eligible only for the QBID of net income which was a significant disadvantage. Suddenly cooperatives had an advantage that non-cooperative businesses couldn’t match and most of the farm sector scrambled to position themselves to take advantage of this tax advantage. Some farmers directed larger portions of their sales or prospective sales toward cooperatives. Non-cooperative businesses lobbied for a change to this piece of the new tax law while looking for ways to add a cooperative model to their own businesses to stay competitive.

Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 in March of 2018 which eliminated this advantage to cooperatives and replaced it with a new hybrid QBID for sales to cooperatives which offered more tax neutrality between sales to cooperatives and non-cooperatives. While this new legislation leveled the playing field between cooperatives and non-cooperatives, it left many questions unanswered; chief among them was how taxpayers should allocate expenses between sales to cooperatives and non-cooperatives.

One area that was clarified for calculating the QBID for all businesses including cooperatives was how certain deductions should be handled with respect to the Qualified Business Income Deduction (QBID).

For purposes of the QBID (IRC §199A), deductions such as the deductible portion of the tax on self-employment income under § 164(f), the self-employed health insurance deduction under § 162(l), and the deduction for contributions to qualified retirement plans under § 404 are considered attributable to a trade or business (including farm businesses) to the extent that the individual’s gross income from the trade or business is taken into account in calculating the allowable deduction, on a proportionate basis.

Under the final regulations, expenses for half the self-employment (SE) tax, self-employed health insurance, and pension contributions must be subtracted from preliminary QBI figure, before any cooperative reductions are made (if applicable).

While final regulations on the new QBID were published on Jan. 18, 2019, there were still many questions left unanswered as to how the deduction would be handled in relation to cooperatives. As the QBID is calculated differently between the income from sales to cooperatives and non-cooperatives, taxpayers and tax practitioners were left with uncertainty.

A simplified explanation of the steps used to calculate the QBID under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §199A for income attributable to sales to cooperatives is listed here:

Step 1: First, patrons calculate the 20 percent §199A QBID that would apply if they had sold the commodity to a non-cooperative.

Step 2: The patron must then subtract from that initial §199A deduction amount whichever of the following is smaller:

  • 9 percent of the QBI allocable to cooperative sale(s) OR
  • 50 percent of W-2 wages paid allocable to income from sales to cooperatives

Step 3: Add the “Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD)-like” deduction (if any) passed through to them by the cooperative pursuant to IRC §199A(g)(2)(A). The determination of the amount of this new “DPAD-like” deduction will generally range from 0 to 9 percent of the cooperative’s qualified production activities income (QPAI) attributable to that patron’s sales.

Parts of the new tax law do offer some simplification. Calculating the QBID isn’t necessarily one of those parts. The result of all of these calculations is that income attributable to sales to cooperatives may result in an effective net QBID that is:

  • Possibly greater than 20% if the farmer taxpayer pays no or few W2 wages and coop passes through all or a large portion of the allocable “DPAD-like” deduction
  • Approximately equal to 20% if the farmer taxpayer pays enough W2 wages to fully limit their coop sales QBID to 11% and the coop passes through all allocable “DPAD-like” deduction
  • Possibly less than 20% if farmer taxpayer pays enough W2 wages to fully limit their coop sales QBID to 11% and the coop passes through less than the allocable “DPAD-like” deduction

On June 18th, the IRS released proposed regulations under IRC §199A on the patron deduction and the IRC §199A calculations for cooperatives. The proposed regulations provide that when a taxpayer receives both qualified payments from cooperatives and other income from non-cooperatives, the taxpayer must allocate deductions using a “reasonable method based on all the facts and circumstances.” Different reasonable methods may be used for the different items and related deductions. The chosen reasonable method, however, must be consistently applied from one tax year to another and must clearly reflect the income and expenses of the business.

So what “reasonable methods” might be accepted by the IRS? The final regulations (when they are provided) may give us further guidance or we may be left to choose some “reasonable” method in allocating expenses between the two types of income. Acceptable methods may include allocating expenses on a prorated basis by bushel/cwt or by gross sales attributable to cooperatives and non-cooperatives. Producers may also consider tracing costs on a per field basis and tracking sales of those bushels/cwt to either a cooperative or non-cooperative.

Included in the proposed regulations released in June was a set of rules for “safe harbor”. A taxpayer with taxable income under the QBID threshold ($157,500 Single Filer / $315,000 Joint Filer) may ratably apportion business expenses based on the amount of payments from sales to cooperative and non-cooperatives as they relate to total gross receipts. In other words, expenses may be allocated between cooperative and non-cooperative income based on the respective proportions of gross sales that fall to cooperatives and non-cooperatives.

Some questions that haven’t been answered clearly is how certain other income should be allocated between income from cooperatives and non-cooperatives. Tax reform now requires farmers to report gain on traded-in farm equipment. In many cases, farm income will be negative and all of the income for the business will be from trading-in farm equipment. The question is how do we allocate this income (IRC §1245 Gain)? Some commentators contend that none of these gains should be allocated to cooperative income which would eliminate the issue, however, the depreciation deduction taken on the equipment was likely allocated to cooperative income, thus reducing the effect of the 9% of AGI patron reduction. This would suggest that these gains may have to be allocated between cooperative and non-cooperative income.

How should government payments be allocated? If a farmer sells all of their commodities to a cooperative and receive a government payment (i.e. ARC or PLC), should that be treated as cooperative income or not. Hopefully, the final regulations will provide some further clarity on these issues.

The information in this article is the opinion of the author and is intended for educational purposes only. You are encouraged to consult professional tax or legal advice in regards to your facts and circumstances regarding the application of the general tax principles cited in this article.