While the tax benefits of farming may be attractive, there are many pitfalls to avoid. Using a business plan will help you determine whether your income is truly a profit. Also, remember to set up separate bank accounts for your business and to maintain a business plan. This will demonstrate to the IRS that your farming operation is serious about making a profit. While the tax benefits of farming are not high, the income you generate on your farm should be at least 30% higher than the cost of running your business.
In addition to cash receipts from farm marketing, a farmer’s income may be impacted by other factors, such as government payments and changes in farm inventories. However, farming income can fluctuate significantly, and a good year for one farmer may be accompanied by a disastrous year for another. In short, you can expect an income drop one year and a high income the next. Whether you are a sole proprietor, a partner in a partnership, or a shareholder of an S corporation, you must determine the exact tax rate for your situation.
Regardless of the type of farm income you earn, you should be sure to report all payments. Payments in kind, such as peaches and poultry, should be reported. While cash receipts should be reported at fair market value, agricultural products should be reported according to their fair market value. If you don’t report all of your income on your tax return, you risk being reassessed, which could result in unpaid taxes and a 10 percent penalty.
If you are operating your farm as a sole proprietor, partnership, or S corporation, you must report your farming income on Schedule F. Farming income includes income from cultivating and managing land for profit, including stock farms, poultry, fish farms, and even hobby farms. Additionally, if you are renting crop land to another farm, you must report rental income as well. In some cases, you can elect not to report farming income altogether if you do not materially participate in the production of the crop.
Unlike other forms of business income, farming income does not include income from landscaping, dog breeding, and veterinary services. Farming income can also include other sources of revenue, such as dividends from a farming cooperative or crop insurance proceeds. You should know how to calculate your farm income and keep track of your expenses. A detailed plan can help you avoid unnecessary mistakes and minimize your tax liability. FYI: You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to run your farm.
The CRA offers several guides on farming income. The CFAP program, for example, allows you to claim up to $750,000 in income as a farmer. The MFP program, which is a yearly program, only allows farmers with an AGI of over $900,000. However, the definition of farming income is hazy. While wages and dividends from IC-DISC are considered farm income, you should be aware that you may qualify for a lower amount.
If you have high-profit years and lean years, it’s wise to consider applying income averaging to lower the tax burden on your next few years. By averaging your farming income over the last four years, you’ll be able to offset the high-income years with minimal tax liability. The IRS form associated with this strategy is 1040 Schedule J. You can find this form on the IRS’s website. In addition to farming income, you can claim cash rents for your property and other sources of income.
Farmers are encouraged to use an attorney or accountant to help them understand the tax implications of their business. Publication 225 from the IRS can help you figure out how to report your income. The Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation offers free resources and a technical online subscription service called TaxPlace. This can help you determine how much income you’re entitled to claim as a deduction. There are also several other important tax planning tips.
Net farm income is the sum of the gross farm income minus all expenses, including nonmoney income. Nonmoney income includes the value of self-produced food in the home and the imputed gross rental value of farm dwellings. After subtracting your expenses from your gross farm income, you will have your net farm income. Net cash income is the amount of your gross cash income minus your total farm expenses, which include feed, seed, and property taxes.