DC Tax Reform May be Tough Sell in Farm Country


September 06, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) President Trump launches a national tour to prime voters for this fall’s tax reform efforts, but it may be a tough sell in farm country.

President Trump’s tax emphasis is all about increasing wages for American workers. This news may be exciting to some but could be unwelcome in farm communities that are already struggling to find willing and able workers, at any wage. As small businesses themselves, most farmers want a simpler tax code, but there is also concern that simplifying it could actually cost farmers more per year.

The proposed reform is all about lowering rates. However, the trade-off will likely mean giving up exemptions and deductions. If farmers lose too many deductions that assist them in balancing a year’s expenses, they could end up with a tax increase even with the proposed lower rate. Another example of a proposed “simplification” of the tax code that could prove problematic to farmers would be forcing them to keep their books on an accrual basis rather than on a cash basis, as is done currently. American Farm Bureau Federation Tax Policy Expert Pat Wollf explains, “When you use accrual accounting, you have to count things when you earn it, not when you get paid for it. So, if a farmer harvested their corn crop and put it in the grain bin, they would have to pay taxes on that even though they might not get paid until the next year.”

The American Farm Bureau and others are actively working with the administration to build a tax code that respects the needs of American farmers. In general, farmers are behind the White House and in favor of simplifying the tax code. The key concern right now is making sure farmers have the financial resources they need to weather tough economic times.