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Note: This is an update to our March 30 article, incorporating guidance from the Small Business Administration's interim final rule (issued late in the day on April 2).

April 1, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On March 18, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling regarding a boundary-line dispute. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s denial of the plaintiff’s petition to quiet title because the plaintiff failed to meet his burden for either adverse possession or boundary by acquiescence.

April 1, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On March 20, 2020, the USDA approved the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s hemp plan for the State of Iowa. IDALS will publish the official notice that the USDA accepted Iowa’s state plan in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin on April 8th. This means that farmers are much closer to being able to grow hemp in Iowa during the 2020 season. It does remain illegal to grow, possess, buy or sell hemp in Iowa until official notice is published in the Iowa Administrative Bulletin (April 8) AND the grower has received a license from IDALS.

On March 27, 2020, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling finding that two plaintiffs who voluntarily dismissed their agricultural nuisance claims a second time were liable to the defendants for costs and expenses.

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act. The CARES Act contains a number of relief provisions—including tax provisions—designed to sustain Americans during the COVID-19 health and economic crisis.

Update: In response to criticism of IRS' March 30 notice, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced late April 1 that the IRS would not require seniors who had not filed returns in 2018 and 2019 to file a "simple return" to claim their economic impact payment.Stay tuned for further details!

March 25, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Senate has been discussing provisions contained in what's being called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act or Phase 3 Coronavirus legislation. The proposal would include $2 trillion of spending. Full text of the legislation has not been publicly released, but Chairman Grassley from the Senate Finance Committee has released a summary of provisions under consideration.

March 23, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

In a March 22, 2020, Proclamation of Disaster Emergency related to the COVID-19 crisis, the Iowa Governor temporarily suspended foreclosures of residential, commercial, and agricultural real property.

Update: The Department of Labor has created a webpage devoted to this new law.

Update: On March 24, IRS issued a Q & A addressing many questions unanswered by the Notice.

Update: After Iowa issued its notice, the IRS issued a notice extending the filing deadline for federal returns to July 15.

Update: On March 20, 2020, the IRS superseded this notice with Notice 2020-18. An automatic extension now applies to payments AND tax return filings otherwise due on April 15, 2020.

March 18, 2020 | Kristine Tidgren

Eligible producers and crop share landlords should finally begin receiving interim payments from the Syngenta settlement this month. On February 28, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas authorized the claims administrator to make interim payments to class members that have:

On March 16, 2020, the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a ruling on another North Carolina nuisance case against the swine integrator, Murphy-Brown. The federal judge ruled North Carolina’s Right to Farm law barred the nuisance claim because the plaintiff failed to bring the claim within one year of the operation’s establishment or fundamental change. The judge also found that the statute of limitations barred the plaintiff’s negligence claim.

On February 24, 2020, IRS issued proposed regulations, REG-100814-19, to address the deductibility of food and beverage expenses in light of the disallowance of entertainment expenses under IRC § 274(a)(1)(A) by the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (TCJA).

While the number of people employed in the agricultural industry has dropped significantly during the past century, many farms still employ family members, migrant workers, and full-time employees.

February 25, 2020 | Kristine Tidgren

On February 21, IRS issued a long-awaited revenue procedure, IRS Rev. Proc. 2020-13, to allow farmers who had elected out of UNICAP prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to revoke that election if they qualify as a small business taxpayer.

February 21, 2020 | Kristine Tidgren

With filing season well underway, IRC §199A (Section 199A) has been generating a lot of questions, particularly with respect to patrons of agricultural and horticultural cooperatives. Below we discuss several common issues.


On February 19, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals denied a beneficiary’s request to invalidate a September 2018 court order approving a plan to make property distributions and then terminate a family farm trust

A married couple created an irrevocable trust and placed farmland into the trust. The parents named their three children as beneficiaries. The trust originally provided for terminating distributions once the three children reached fifty-five years of age.

On February 5, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals found that trustees of a drainage district improperly annexed and reclassified land into their district. The ruling affirmed the district court's order vacating the annexation.

February 6, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On January 23, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of the Army signed the final Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), a rule that defines “waters of the United States” or the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

On January 23, 2020, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling finding that cash gifts given by the husband’s parents while the couple was married constituted divisible property during their later divorce. The court found that the gifts were made to the couple with the intent to keep the farm in the family.

It’s always good to get answers to unresolved questions, and it’s even better when the answer provides good news. IRS recently provided such an answer in PMTA 2020-01, posted to the IRS website on January 15.  In this memo, the Office of Chief Counsel answered an important lingering question we’ve had since 2018:

January 6, 2020 | Kitt Tovar

On December 18, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling on several evidentiary issues concerning a farming accident. The Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decisions.

January 1, 2020 | Kristine A. Tidgren

As we move into 2020, we're dedicating this post to reviewing important agricultural law developments from the past year. Most of these issues continue to evolve, and we look forward to providing updates as they occur. Happy new year!

December 30, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, HR 1865, part two of a spending bill designed to keep the government running through September 2020.

December 22, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On December 20, 2019, President Trump signed into law the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act).

On December 18, 2019, a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed a Texas district court’s December 2018, ruling that the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional in light of changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA). Texas v. U.S., No.

December 21, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The $1.4 trillion year-end spending package passed by Congress and signed into law on December 20, 2019, contains a number of provisions impacting taxpayers. The package, including the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, H.R.

tractor on road

On November 8, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court denied the motion to include a tractor driver in a second trial involving a motorcycle collision. The Court found that while there was an error in the verdict form, it did not influence the jury’s decision to exonerate the tractor driver of fault in the accident.

November 30, 2019 | Kitt Tovar

On November 27, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that a farmer who had solicited the services of a harvester was a “debtor” subject to a harvester lien because he was the person for whom the services were rendered.

On November 8, 2019, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a restriction of alienation placed on a charitable gift could not be modified. The Court found the restriction did not make the purpose of the gift impracticable, and therefore could not be modified under the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act or the common law doctrine of cy pres.

November 26, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On November 22, 2019, IRS released TD 9884, finalizing regulations confirming that individuals taking advantage of increased gift and estate tax exclusion amounts in effect from 2018 to 2025 will not be adversely impacted after 2025 when the exclusion amount is scheduled to drop to pre-2018 levels.

On November 6, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a district court order dismissing a challenge by landowners to a county's condemnation of their property. The county sought to condemn the private land for the purpose of upgrading a dirt road to a Level A road.

On October 23, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that farm borrowers lacked good faith when they filed a motion to continue a mortgage foreclosure. The district court’s summary judgment allowing foreclosure by Farm Credit Services was thus allowed to stand.

October 30, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On October 29, 2019, USDA issued an interim final rule for the establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program. The rule implements provisions within the 2018 Farm Bill[i]  authorizing the production and transportation of hemp.

On October 23, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals ruled that a boundary by acquiescence was established between two farms because the neighbors had treated the edge of a fenced corridor as the boundary line for more than ten years.

On October 16, 2019, the United States Tax Court issued an opinion determining the correct way for an agricultural cooperative to characterize payments made to patrons and to calculate its DPAD deduction.

On October 4, 2019, the North American Meat Institute (AMI) filed a complaint against the state of California over Proposition 12, which passed last year. The complaint alleges Proposition 12 violates the Commerce Clause by discriminating against out-of-state veal and pork producers through a sales ban on veal and pork products not raised under certain conditions.

On September 25, 2019, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling regarding a will created by a man who suffered from schizophrenia. His sister claimed that he lacked the testamentary capacity to create a will and that it should be set aside. The court affirmed the district court’s decision and held that the decedent did have testamentary capacity to create a will and deed his portion of the farm to his distant relatives.

September 30, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On September 30, 2019, IRS released proposed regulations clarifying the application of the employer shared responsibility provisions and nondiscrimination rules to individual coverage HRAs, authorized by final regulations issued Ju

September 28, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On September 24, 2019, IRS issued Rev. Proc. 2019-38, the final safe harbor under which a rental real estate enterprise will be treated as a trade or business for purposes of IRC § 199A.

On September 26, 2019, the USDA announced that producers participating in the federal crop insurance program who had a 2019 prevented planting indemnity because of flooding or excess moisture will receive an automatic “top-up” payment on their inde

September 13, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On Thursday, September 12, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Army released a final rule to repeal the embattled 2015 Clean Water Rule, also known as WOTUS.

The Seventh Circuit recently ruled that the USDA acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it treated several acres of an Indiana couple’s farm as a converted wetland and rendered their entire farm ineligible for USDA benefits.  Boucher v. USDA, No. 16-1654 (7th Cir. 2019).

On August 29, 2019, IRS issued draft instructions for Form 8995, Qualified Business Income Deduction Simplified Computation. The instructions provide some useful soft guidance, as well as a new QBI flowchart. Detailed below are some highlights. We we will watch for the instructions for Form 8995-A.

August 25, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

As many farmers continue to struggle with high debt and uncertain markets, new attention is focused on remedies for financially distressed farmers. President Trump signed into law the Family Farmer Relief Act of 2019 on August 23, 2019. This law increases the amount of debt a farmer may have, yet still remain a “family farmer” eligible for Chapter 12 bankruptcy protection.

August 23, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On August 21, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia became the second federal court in the past three months to rule that the 2015 Waters of the United States Rule (the WOTUS Rule), was improperly issued by the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

A recent case from the Tax Court explains the special “qualifying child” rule for children of divorced parents. Although it has been in place for decades, the rule still causes confusion, especially among clients. A divorce decree may grant a noncustodial parent the “right” to claim a child as a dependent.

August 16, 2019 | Kristine A. Tidgren

In this August 14, 2019, edition of the CALT Brief Podcast - Tax Edition, Kristine discusses:

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