Taxes! What many people in Agriculture don't understand, is
that taxes are a sign of prosperity. In an industry that has been
taught to avoid paying taxes at all costs, the thought of forking
over any taxes even in years of record profits is hard to swallow.
Canadian Agriculture Tax rules allow for deferrals of cash profits
and the ability to calculate taxable income on a cash basis has
resulted in most of those entities being able to avoid paying any
tax. Deferrals work but the only way to get out of the tax hangover
you create, is to rely on the fact that a disaster of a year has to
occur to use up any income that has been deferred. As an advisor,
counting on a bad year seems ludicrous as a tax strategy but
history has shown this to be the norm rather than the exception,
which is why it continues as a solid tax strategy today.
Unfortunately for many years, profit has been hard to find and
thus when it comes, the ability to replenish equity on the farm is
a necessity. A tax partner of mine used to say (when personal tax
rates were close to 50%) he wished he paid $5M in taxes because
that meant he made $10M that year. Taxes are a result of being
profitable and should be more widely seen as a sign of success.
That does not mean you have to be happy about it, but it does mean
you are doing something right and a history of paying tax indicates
your farm is profitable and you are routinely making good
management decisions which result in profit.
If continued profitability is planned for your operation, you
might want to consider changing the legal structure of your
operation to a partnership, joint venture or company. Profitability
can allow you to include the next generation of the family in the
business. You might be able to kill two birds with one stone by
restructuring and/or changing ownership of your farm. New
structures can reduce taxes owing by utilizing corporate tax rates,
or allow for income splitting with the next generation.
Alternatively, restructuring can provide flexibility if the
ultimate goal is to exit the industry. Given the significant rise
in value of your operation's equity (land, quota and inventory
values especially) gaining access to multiple capital gains
exemptions available to the family farm can also be achieved as an
additional benefit. This requires significant tax planning, so
don't try this at home folks.
Don't forget that as your operation continues to be
profitable, other benefits, such as increases to your AgriStability
margins are occurring since the program is based on your accrual
profit. Accrual profits are usually larger that your cash profits
if you have been taking advantage of deferrals and prepayments of
input expense or purchasing inventory. Yes, I know you have all
heard how the changes to this program have made it less attractive.
However, the last couple of years of profit in the grain sector has
resulted in significant increases to the five year margin averages
and so 70% coverage of a $2M ($1.4M) is far better than 85%
coverage of $1M ($850,000) based on old program coverage and old
industry margins. If the beef and hogs can maintain profitability
for a couple of years, being in AgriStability makes sense as it is
the only safety net available in case of a crash. Remember,
AgriStability is a disaster program and you really never want a
payment out it as this means you have had a wreck, but that is
exactly when you will need the financial protection the program
provides. You just might have to wait a while for it.
So as you curse writing that tax cheque and blame your
accountant for not working hard enough, remember no one went broke
locking in a profit and make sure you know where profit shows up on
your farm by knowing your true costs of production. I know, I know
spoken like a true accountant!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that courts will generally support and uphold decisions of condominium directors because they are better positioned than judges to make decisions pertaining to their buildings.
According to the city bylaws in Calgary, the grading of lots for new buildings must be done properly so that the water never flows toward the new building or any other nearby properties, but away from those buildings.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).