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Fall 2012 News, know-how and planning updates...

Tax & accounting newsletter

tax treatment of crop insurance proceeds– Many farmers in the midwest will file a crop insurance claim this year due to the widespread drought conditions that affected most crops. A major concern for these farmers is how and when this crop insurance payment will be taxed and what options are available to minimize their tax liability. The rules below outline the options available. There are two types of crop insurance payments that a farmer could receive. The first is called Revenue Protection. The farmer would receive a crop insurance payment if the market price of the commodity falls below a certain pre-established level. Revenue Protection payments are income in the year received by the farmer. There are no other options with these payments. For example, if the payment is received in 2013 for the 2012 crop the income is reported in 2013, the year it was received. The second type of crop insurance payment

is from a weather related event such as drought, flood, hail, wind, etc. The farmer does have a deferral option available with a weather related event payment. There are two qualifications that must be met in order for the farmer to use the deferral option. First, you must use the cash method of accounting. Second, you must establish that under your normal business practice the majority of the crop proceeds from the damaged crop would have been reported in a year following the year of harvest. For example, if you receive a crop insurance check on December 20, 2012 and your normal business practice is selling all your corn in the year of harvest, you cannot defer any of this crop insurance money and it will be taxed as income in 2012. However, if your normal business practice is selling the majority of your corn the year after harvest, you can defer reporting this crop insurance money until the 2013 tax year.

2012 Standard Mileage Rates As of January 1, 2012, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car, van, pickup, etc. is:

Even if you meet these two qualifications, you are not required to defer these crop insurance proceeds if you do not want to. If it is more advantageous for you to report these proceeds as income in 2012 when received, if you can. If you wish to defer these proceeds, you must defer all of them. You are not able to split them between 2012 and 2013. If you wish to defer crop insurance proceeds to the next year, an election must be filed with the tax return for the year you received the proceeds. The election must include a statement that identifies the crop that was damaged, cause and date of the damage, the name of the insurance company, the amount of the crop insurance proceeds received and a sentence stating that under normal business practice income from the damaged crops would have been included in the following year. Continued on Page 2...

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Health Care Reform Legislation EMPLOYER BENEFIT AND TAX CHANGES New benefits requirements – Employers with health plans that are not “grandfathered” must remain in compliance with the new coverage rules that: 1. Bar lifetime and annual limits on coverage, 2. Require plans to offer coverage to employees’ children up to the age of 26, 3. Bar copays on preventative care, and 4. Bar plans from rejecting anyone based on pre-existing conditions. Flexible spending arrangement limits – Employers must be prepared to limit employee contributions to a flexible spending arrangement (FSA) to $2,500 beginning in 2013. Summaries of benefits and coverage – Employers must be prepared to provide their employees with a summary of benefits and coverage as required for open enrollment beginning September 23, 2012 Form W-2 reporting – Beginning with the 2012 calendar year, employers must

Income Tax UPDATES WISCONSIN DAIRY AND LIVESTOCK FARM INVESTMENT CREDIT EXTENDED Effective for 2012-2016, the availability of the dairy and livestock investment credit is extended to tax years that begin before January 1, 2017. The credit is equal to 10 percent of the amount paid in the tax year for livestock farm modernization or expansion and dairy facilities and equipment. The aggregate amount of credits that may be claimed throughout all eligible years is now $75,000.

WISCONSIN QUALIFIED PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES CREDIT CREATED Effective beginning in 2013, a credit may be claimed against Wisconsin income tax based on the following percentages of eligible qualified production activities income in the tax year: • 2013..........1.875 percent • 2014..........3.75 percent • 2015..........5.526 percent • 2016..........7.5 percent Qualified Production Activities Income means the income derived from property located in Wisconsin that is assessed as manufacturing or agricultural property. Partners, members of LLC, and Shareholders of S corporations may claim the credit in proportion to their ownership interests. Unused credits may be carried over up to 15 years.

report the cost of health coverage to their employees on form W-2. Penalties for not offering adequate coverage – Employers with more than 50 full-time employees must be prepared to pay monthly penalties beginning in 2014 if they do not offer adequate coverage to employees.

Tax Treatment continued...

Crop Insurance Proceeds received in 2013 for the 2012 crop year must be reported in the year received. There is no deferral option to the year 2014 because you received the crop insurance money in the year after the damage occurred. It is very important to do some tax planning prior to year end to determine the best option for you to report these crop insurance payments. Contact your local GreenStone tax accountant for assistance with this tax planning.

INDIVIDUAL TAX CHANGES New Medicare taxes – Beginning in 2013, the individual Medicare tax rate on earned income higher than $200,000 for singles and $250,000 for joint filers will increase from 1.45 percent to 2.35 percent. The employer’s 1.45 percent does not change. For the first time, unearned income exceeding this threshold (such as capital gains, dividends and interest) will be subject to Medicare tax at a rate of 3.8 percent. There will be efforts to repeal this tax before it takes effect. Limits on deduction for medical expenses – Individuals under age 65 should remember that beginning in 2013 they can deduct only health care costs exceeding 10 percent of income (versus 7.5 percent now).

COMPREHENSIVE REPAIR / CAPITALIZATION REGULATIONS The new regulations are generally effective for tax years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2012. These regulations have been subject to much criticism over the past several months because they often rely on facts and circumstances tests in distinguishing repairs from capitalized expenses. This approach caused conflicts between the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and taxpayers and as a result, the IRS is under pressure to further simplify the regulations. • New definition of materials and supplies – This regulation provides that materials and supplies are tangible property used or consumed in the taxpayer’s business operations that is not inventory, is a component acquired to maintain, repair or improve a unit of tangible property, and is reasonably expected to be consumed in 12 months or less or has an economic useful life of

12 months or less. This allows an election to capitalize materials and supplies and contains special rules for rotable spare parts. • De minimis expensing rule – Only taxpayers with an applicable financial statement (AFS), such as a certified audited financial statement, may claim a deduction for materials and supplies that are less than or equal to the greater of 0.1 percent of gross receipts or 2 percent of total depreciation and amortization expense as determined in its AFS. • Unit of Property (UOP) defined – In general, for real or personal property that is not classified as a building, all the components that are functionally interdependent comprise a single UOP. Each building and its structural components are one UOP. • Amounts paid to improve tangible property – Capital expenditures

Uncertainty Over Bush-Era Tax Cuts Lawmakers will return this fall to face a long list of tax issues that need to be addressed before the end of the year, including: • The research credit, which expired at the end of 2011 • The alternative minimum tax (AMT) with no “patch” for 2012 • The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, scheduled to expire at the end of 2012 • Estate and gift rules agreed to in 2010, which will also expire at the end of 2012 The House and Senate have each approved bills to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts and have each voted down the proposal from the other side with little progress being made. It is unlikely that any change will be enacted before the elections in November. No one is arguing for a long-term bill and at this time it appears that some of these tax cuts will be extended for one year by the lame-duck legislature with more substantive tax reform coming in 2013. This excruciating amount of uncertainty in the system makes tax planning extremely difficult. With the large deficit looming, most people would conclude that taxes probably are not going down. The table to the right illustrates an overview of some tax rates from 2011-2013:

are divided into three categories of improvements: betterments, restorations, and adaptations. Generally, whether an expenditure is an improvement is based on facts and circumstances. A safe harbor is provided for routine maintenance activities. • The downside – The new UOP rule for buildings is that improvements to a building system must be capitalized as part of the building. (For example, a new roof.) • The upside – The taxpayer will be able to recognize a loss on the disposition of a structural component of a building before it sells the entire building. Therefore, they will not have to continue to depreciate amounts allocable to structural components that are no longer in service. (For example, the old roof torn off and being replaced.)





Rates for ordinary income

10 - 35 percent

10 - 35 percent

15 - 39.6 percent

Long-term capital gains

0 - 15 percent

0 - 15 percent

10 - 20 percent

Child tax credit




AMT exemption, single




AMT exemption, married




Payroll tax holiday

2 percent

2 percent


Surtax on investment income



3.8 percent

Medicare surtax



0.9 percent

Estate tax top rate

35 percent

35 percent

55 percent

Estate tax exemption

$5 million

$5.12 million

$1 million

American Opportunity Credit



Hope Credit





Section 179 limit




Section 179 phase-out

$2 million



Bonus depreciation

100 percent

50 percent


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Tax & ACCOUNTING news Inside this issue: - Crop Insurance Proceeds - Health Care Reform - Capitalization Regulations

- 2012 Standard Mileage Rates - Income Tax Changes - Bush-Era Tax Cuts

2012 Farm Bill

planning ideas

With the recent package of Farm Bill programs having expired on Sept. 30, farmers are demanding action by lawmakers. Here are some highlights from the Senate version of the Farm Bill: • Eliminates Direct Payments, Counter-Cyclical Payments (CCP), Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) payments and Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments (SURE) as of the end of 2012. Beginning in 2013, all of these payments will be eliminated. • “Ends Farm Payments to Millionaires” - This is the Senate’s heading on this part of the Bill, but it actually refers to payments not being allowed if the total adjusted gross income (AGI) for the person or entity is $750,000 or more. • A new program called Ag Risk Coverage (ARC) will be implemented that will complement current crop insurance programs. It will protect against both yield and price losses. • Payments will only go to farmers with an active stake in the farming operation. • Payments will be capped at $50,000 per person or entity. • A stronger dairy program is proposed to protect dairy margins equal to the difference between the all-milk price and a national feed cost.

Based on the possibility of an increasing capital gains rate environment beginning in 2013, you may want to consider accelerating capital gains prior to 2013 to capture the lower tax rate. Additionally, if you expect a net capital gain for 2012 and 2013, you should explore deferring capital losses until 2013 when those losses might potentially offset capital gains taxed at a higher rate. You may also want to elect out of installment sale treatment and recognize the entire gain in 2012 as opposed to deferring the gain. If you are considering a major purchase of equipment, it may pay to place it in service in 2012 to take advantage of the higher Section 179 limit. However, there are current proposals in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to increase these limits in 2013. It is important to weigh both the economic considerations and tax considerations carefully for any transaction. Given the degree of uncertainty as we approach 2013, it is important to closely monitor the continuing tax debate in Washington, D.C.

This notice is required by IRS Circular 230, which regulates written communications about federal tax matters between tax advisors and their clients. To the extent the preceding information and or any attachment is a written tax advice communication, it is not a full “covered opinion.” Accordingly, this advice is not intended and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by the IRS. Such assurances can be granted only by securing a covered opinion letter. Should you wish to explore the option of receiving a covered opinion letter relating to a tax advice matter, please contact your local office.

Wisconsin Tax & Accounting Newsletter - Fall 2012  

GreenStone's Tax & Accounting newsletter offers the latet news and information for the upcoming tax season. This newsletter is published onc...