New York State Tax Credits for Agricultural Activities

By Michael Lyons on February 2, 2018
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Michael Lyons

New York State Tax Credits for Agricultural ActivitiesNew York farmers often overlook credits that can result in significant savings at tax time.

People from around the world identify New York with bright lights, Wall Street, and the arts and culture of the “city that never sleeps.” But outside of the urban population centers, the state of New York is one of the leading agricultural producers in the U.S. A recent study from Cornell University pegs the contribution of agriculture to the New York economy at $63.8 billion per year.

With numbers like that at stake, it should come as no surprise that New York is willing to offer a variety of tax incentives to support the success of this important segment of its economy.

To provide you with an overview of tax credits available in New York that could support agricultural activities, we’ve developed a Tax Alert summarized in this blog post.

The Alert covers several applicable New York state tax credits. Some of them identify specific types of agribusinesses, but others are more widely available credits that can help other types of businesses as well. Here’s a quick look at some of the provisions we discuss:

  • New York State Tax Credits for Agricultural Activities Farm workforce retention credit: Operations that employ “eligible farm employees” may claim a tax credit equal to a fixed dollar amount for each of those eligible employees. There are some gross income limitations on the farmer, but the fixed dollar amounts are $250 per employee in tax year 2017 and $300 per employee in tax year 2018.
  • Real property credit for qualified New York manufacturers: A credit is available equal to 20% of eligible taxes paid on real property owned or leased for manufacturing. “Manufacturing activities” include farming, agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, viticulture, and commercial fishing.”
  • Farmers’ school tax credit: Farmers can claim a refundable New York State income tax credit for the school district property taxes paid on qualified agricultural property.
  • Investment tax credit: Farmers who invest in tangible property that is predominantly used in agricultural activities in New York State, such as buildings and structural components, may qualify for an investment tax credit.
  • Employment incentive credit: Farmers who claim the investment tax credit may be eligible to claim the employment incentive credit for each of the following two years.
  • Small business subtraction modification: A farm business operating as a sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, or joint venture may qualify to subtract 5% of farm income included in federal adjusted gross income. The business must employ at least one person and not exceed $250,000 in net income.
  • Minimum wage reimbursement credit: From 2014-2018, employers can claim a refundable tax credit by employing students in New York State, ages 16-19, who are paid the state’s minimum wage.
  • Fuel tax refund: Diesel and gasoline used for on-road purposes are subject to fuel taxes. Those same fuels used for off-road purposes qualify for a refund of those taxes. Careful tracking of fuel used exclusively off-road in farm production can generate a significant refund at the end of the year. New York State also provides a refund for state excise tax, petroleum business tax, and sales tax to farmers who purchased gasoline or diesel fuel and paid these taxes.
  • Research and experimentation tax credit: A federal credit is available for taxpayers, including farmers, who conduct “qualified research activities” within the U.S. The definition of “qualified research activities” gets a little technical. Suffice to say that experiments and research you do to improve your harvest lifecycle, reduce or reuse waste, and minimize or eliminate crop damage for disease may qualify for this credit.

Earning Your Trust

As you can tell from the list above, only a few of these agriculatural tax credits mention farms and farmers by name. There are many savings opportunities available in the tax code, but they don’t always announce themselves to potential beneficiaries.

Freed Maxick CPAs, P.C. is Western and Upstate New York’s largest public accounting firm and a Top 100 firm in the United States. Freed Maxick’s reputation and experience with agricultural business consulting and tax issues has made us a go-to firm for businesses and individuals from all over the U.S. and Canada and around the world.

The Agribusiness Tax Experts at Freed Maxick can help you lower your taxes.

If you would like to better understand just how many credits and deductions are available for your agricultural operation, please download our free alert or contact Freed Maxick via phone at 716.847.2651 or via form, here.

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