Legislation offers tax relief for Pa. farmers

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CAMP HILL, Pa. — Pennsylvania Farm Bureau supported the passage of House Bills 2370 and 2025 as well as legislative amendments to local income tax rules contained in Senate Bill 356 and House Bill 245 that will benefit Pennsylvania farm families.

Transfer tax

House Bill 2370 extends the exemption from realty transfer tax for sales of agriculture conservation easements on farms to transfers occurring on or after Dec. 31, 2012.

The legislation was needed despite the enactment of Act 84 earlier this year, that only applied the exemption to transfers occurring after Sept. 11, 2016.

“The legislation will provide relief for nearly 250 family farms, which have already paid or would have been responsible for paying about $1.3 million in transfer taxes,” said PFB President Rick Ebert.

Families that have already paid the tax will be eligible for a refund, he said.

Transportation

HB 2025 contains language that specifically exempts employees of agribusinesses with a Class A commercial driver’s license from being required to have a hazardous materials license endorsement when transporting 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel in the course of their employment.

The vehicle still needs to be marked with a ‘flammable’ or ‘combustible’ placard, said Ebert.

Income tax

SB 356 and HB 245 establish uniform rules that are more consistent with the state’s income tax filing rules.

The rules give farmers the option to make a single filing and payment of estimated taxes, instead of quarterly filing and payments providing the following.

A “safe harbor” allowance for the payment of estimated taxes based on the taxpayers income from the previous year.

An option for paper filing of income and estimated tax returns.

Conforming the filing and payment deadlines of estimated taxes to state and federal deadlines.

And allowing farmers to use standardized tax return forms, instead of requiring them to use a form specifically developed by an individual local taxing district.

Ebert said, The legislative changes should reduce the stress, hassle and expenses of filing local tax returns for farm families.

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