President Donald Trump’s proposal to exempt farm subsidies from the value-added tax, known as the farm tax, is a big win for big-scale agriculture companies and the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The farm lobby, which represents more than 3,000 members in Congress, said the proposal will give farmers the option of deducting a portion of their farm profits from their income tax bill.
The proposal will also give farmers another way to offset farm income taxes, which have become more regressive, because farmers pay more in income taxes than they collect in property taxes, said Dan Schoen, president of the farm lobbying group Farm Bureau, in a statement.
The White House says the plan will “rebalance” the tax code, eliminating a popular deduction for farmers.
But it will likely do so without making a substantial dent in the nearly $4 trillion farm tax burden.
Farmers have complained that the farm and small-business tax deduction, known by the acronym SALT, has become too large and has led to them paying far too little in taxes.
This year, Congress extended the SALT deduction to more than 1.4 million farmers, making it even more valuable.
The SALT exemption has grown dramatically over the past decade, rising from $3,000 for small farmers to $30,000, as the nation has been battling a record crop of corn and soybeans.
The 2018 farm bill included a provision that would have allowed farmers to deduct up to $10,000 in SALT payments from their tax bills.
The president’s plan would have given them the option to deduct a portion from their farm income tax bills for up to five years.
The Farm Bureau said it has “strong reservations” about the proposal.
It said the farm bill is a “backdoor subsidy” for the farming industry, and that it would be a “major blow” to farmers.
“This proposal will leave a gaping hole in the tax base and will only benefit those in the largest agribusinesses,” Schoen said.
The Senate Agriculture Committee is expected to vote on the bill on Monday.
The Tax Policy Center estimates that if the farm deduction were eliminated for farm-related businesses, the average family would end up paying about $1,000 more in tax this year.
The top rate on capital gains and dividends for farm and individual income would be reduced from 39.6 percent to 28.6.
A separate farm-focused group called the Farm Bureau has also come out against the farm-tax proposal, saying it would only exacerbate the already severe income tax burden of farm workers.
The group said that the plan could result in lower crop prices and reduced production in the coming years.
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