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Will Tax Breaks Come Too Late For Agriculture?

There will be just two weeks, three at most, after Thanksgiving for the lame duck Congress to extend tax breaks key for agriculture. And some fear it may be too late. Ag Senator and Finance Committee member Chuck Grassley says if the job gets done, it will be last-minute and cover two-years.

“And I think if they reach an agreement, it’s going to be for 2014 and 2015. And if it’s only 2014, it’s bad for the economy. It’s already back for the economy in the sense that we’ve gone 11 months now with the uncertainty of what’s going to be the provisions?”

The loss of a half-a-million dollar expensing break for farm equipment has cost tractor and combine sales and forced makers – like John Deere – to lay off workers. Wind and biofuels breaks also lapsed last year. Grassley says eleventh hour action will only complicate tax filing.

“IRS needs to know by the end of November what the tax laws are so they can print forms and people can file their income tax on time. The fact that we put this off until December is going to delay people in filing.”

Grassley says Congress’s two tax writing committees are now trying to hammer out a bill for floor action the first or second week of December. But the key hurdle is finding 35 to 40-billion in spending offsets to pay for continuing some 53 tax breaks. Meantime, Grassley expects possibly three different approaches to counter the President’s unilateral moves on immigration.

“One, if we pass an immigration bill that would override. Two, put a rider on an appropriation bill for Homeland Security saying none of the money can carry out the President’s meeting. And three, lawsuits. Some by Congress, probably some by private individuals.”

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