After a rush to cut taxes, a push to fix the legislation | Arkansas Blog

After a rush to cut taxes, a push to fix the legislation

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TAX QUESTOINS: A big tax bill, which included a break for agricultural cooperatives like Riceland Foods, has spawned lingering problems.
  • TAX QUESTOINS: A big tax bill, which included a break for agricultural cooperatives like Riceland Foods, has spawned lingering problems.
The New York Times reports on efforts to fix the hastily approved tax cut legislation. Consequences — both intended and unintended — now have corporate lobbyists looking for fixes.

For example, one problematic provision with application in Arkansas:

Among the problematic portions to emerge so far is what has become known as the “grain glitch.” A late change to the legislation altered a deduction for United States production in a way that permitted farmers to deduct 20 percent of their total sales to cooperatives — agricultural organizations owned by groups of farmers that operate for the benefit of their members.

This allows farmers to deeply reduce their tax bills, but it has caused an uproar among independent agriculture businesses that say they can no longer compete with cooperatives, since farmers would choose to sell to cooperatives to take advantage of the more generous tax break.

The conservative Tax Foundation said that the flaw should be addressed quickly, saying that, if left in place, “the deduction would allow some farmers to effectively become tax-exempt.”
Cooperatives like Riceland Foods and Producers Rice Mill like this tax break naturally. Others aren't so sanguine. See Stephen Steed's report on this for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette earlier in the year.

Other problems with wide application include depreciation rules for restaurants and how the government will interpret the tax break given to "pass-through" business structures, where owners pay for tax liabilities in individual tax returns.




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