Farmers and producers looking to plan ahead for tax filing this year can learn about federal tax law changes and updates, as well as potential money-saving tips they can use when filing 2013 tax returns, from tax experts at Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. 

A Nov. 4 workshop offered by Larry Gearhardt, director of the Ohio State University Income Tax School Program of Ohio State University Extension, will focus on interpreting tax regulations and recent changes in tax laws and is designed to help farmers learn what questions to ask to make more informed decisions about their taxes, he said. 

OSU Extension is the statewide outreach arm of the college. 

The program will help farmers and producers understand new tax laws and rules adopted after the so-called fiscal cliff legislation, including many provisions made retroactive to 2012 and included for 2013, Gearhardt said. 

The “Year End Tax Tips for Farmers” program is at 7 p.m. at 603 Wagner Ave. in Greenville, in OSU Extension’s Darke County office. The workshop costs $5 per family or farm to cover the cost of handouts and refreshments. Reservations can be made by calling 937-548-5215. 

Workshop topics will include:

  • Section 179 expense deductions: These allow farmers to deduct up to $500,000 per item with a cap of $2 million for capital expenditures, including equipment, buildings and depreciable items.
  • Bonus depreciation: This allows farmers 50 percent bonus depreciation on capital expenditures.
  • Regular depreciation. 

Gearhardt said the topics were chosen because they are “key issues for farmers.” 

“These provisions will expire at the end of this year, and we aren’t sure what will happen next year,” he said. “Farming revenue has been high for the past several years, so farmers have probably used the easy deductions already. 

“So they are going to have to sit down and think long and hard about how they can reduce their taxes this year and following years. If the farm economy remains strong, farmers may not have a way to offset that income in the future.” 

The workshop will focus on factors farmers need to weigh individually when deciding how to file their taxes, including: how old are they; do they plan to expand their operations; how much they made this year; is there a younger generation coming up; and which area of agriculture they are in, Gearhardt said. 

“We encourage farmers to sit down with their tax advisors to make the best decisions for their individual situations, but want to hold this workshop to let them know more about these major provisions that are set to expire,” he said. “We like to think of taxes as a risk management tool, and encourage people to think and plan ahead rather than at the end of the year when it is too late. 

“Preplanning is key.”