ARA: Playing the best hand with cards you’re dealt
The industry earned a victory with EPA’s acceptance of the Florida’s Numeric Nutrient Criteria. (Environmentalists typically will approve of numeric criteria over narrative criteria because numeric criteria will set pollution limits before poor water quality effects show up.) But it is likely that environmentally-minded groups will continue to challenge this decision through the courts due to their perception that the state’s criteria does not go far enough. However, this recent development of EPA’s acceptance of Florida’s Numeric Nutrient Criteria resulted in a tremendous sigh of relief for many in agriculture.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act or “Fiscal Cliff ” legislation that was passed in the waning hours of 2012 provided certainty for some provisions of concern for our industry. The permanent rates, asset dollar exemptions and income limits set for the Estate and Capital Gains tax were positive for agriculture, but there is much more to be done to “fix” our code.
Comprehensive tax reform is currently taking up a lot of airspace in and around Capitol Hill. Major developments such as Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) announcing bipartisan working groups in the House to review the tax code, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) announcing his desire to achieve reform before his retirement, have lent promise to the notion that the great tax compromise of 1986 can be relived in 2013.
We continue to work through the conduits provided by Congress to promote provisions that help agriculture and agricultural retailers. A few of these provisions include special land use valuation (IRC Section 2032A) to ensure estates are protected to the fullest extent, the five-year agricultural equipment depreciation schedule (accelerated depreciation and cash accounting to increase farmer asset acquisition in good years), and finally the inclusion of the Agricultural Chemical Security Tax Credit to help with facility security investments. ARA will keep you informed of developments to achieve tax reform throughout the process.
Another recent development that has the potential to affect agricultural retailers is the potential adoption of a tax on goods bought and sold through e-commerce. The Marketplace Fairness Act that passed the Senate and sits in the House Judiciary Committee has the potential to place heavy record-keeping burdens on members of our industry who sell products in states with “agricultural product-use exemptions” if enacted “as-is.” ARA is working with member companies, other associations, and members of Congress to ensure this does not affect or deter ag retailers currently engaged or considering adoption of an online model in the future.
For more information and the latest policy updates from ARA, visit www.aradc.org.