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On January 9, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa declared Iowa’s Agricultural Production Facility Fraud statute to be unconstitutional. Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds, No.4:17-cv-00362 (S.D. Iowa 2019).
A new IRS Lapsed Appropriations Contingency Plan released January 15, 2019, states that 57.4 percent of the IRS workforce will be required to work during the Tax Year 2018 filing season as long as a shutdown continues.
On this, the last day of 2018, we look back at key agricultural and taxation developments from the past year. Many of these issues continue to significantly impact agricultural producers, and we will continue to monitor these evolving issues as we head into 2019. Happy New Year!
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act modified IRC § 5000A(c) to set the individual shared responsibility payment to 0 for months beginning after December 31, 2018. This means that, beginning in 2019, individuals will no longer be subject to a penalty tax when they do not have Affordable Care Act (ACA) compliant health insurance.
The grain glitch and the fix to the grain glitch were big news during the first quarter of 2018. Then the excitement subsided.
On December 5, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals considered a taxpayer's challenge to the Tax Amnesty Act of 2007. The Court of Appeals found that because plaintiff failed to file a 2002 tax return, amnesty was waived and the Department of Revenue could disallow deductions for the following four years.
President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law on December 20, 2018.
On December 5, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling regarding a private nuisance dispute between two neighbors. The court held that a ditch running between two neighbors had not changed substantially because of the addition of a culvert.
On December 5, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a decision regarding the ownership rights of land located in Clayton County. The court held that the City of Garber was estopped from asserting ownership over the property because it never developed, used, or maintained it; the previous owners had acquired it through adverse possession; and the current owners would suffer unfair damages if they gave up the property.
On November 21, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued a ruling regarding the county’s duty to properly maintain a soil and water conservation structure. The court found that the defendants had no statutory, contractual, or common law duty to maintain the structure.
A recent case from the Iowa Court of Appeals assesses the impact of a below-market-value purchase on the priority of related security interests in farm equipment. It’s a timely review during this current farm downturn.
On November 20, 2018, IRS issued a proposed rule providing that individuals who make gifts while the basic exclusion amount (BEA) is temporarily doubled will get to take full advantage of that increased BEA for those gifts, even if the BEA is lower at the time the donor dies.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a notice on October 31st stating that it would be extending the registration of dicamba for over-the top use for an additional two years. This means farmers and applicators are allowed to use dicamba in their operation throughout the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. The EPA made this announcement after collecting comments from pesticide manufacturers, farmers, state regulators, and other stakeholders.
In 2016, the Ranchers Cattlemen Legal Defense Fund (R-CALF) filed a complaint claiming the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was violating the First Amendment through advertising done by the Beef Promotion and Research Act (the federal Beef Checkoff).
On November 7, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion regarding the proper division of farmland for a divorcing couple. The court found the prenuptial agreement signed by the couple unenforceable and the farming assets to be divisible, despite the fact that they were gifted to or inherited by the husband.
On November 7, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals issued an opinion regarding division of monetary gifts and assets during a divorce proceeding. The Court found that certain gifted assets could be divided despite being separate property.
On November 7, 2018, Treasury issued final regulations to implement new due diligence requirements applying to tax return preparers making head of household eligibility determinations for their clients.
For tax year 2018, Iowa has coupled only with selected federal changes. With those exceptions, Iowa tax law looks to the Internal Revenue Code as it existed on January 1, 2015. This non-conformity has presented some challenges.
Newly published proposed regulations from the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor, if implemented, would significantly change the landscape in the healthcare market, reinstating (in new form) some health care reimbursement options that existed prior to the Affordable Care Act.
As tough times continue in the farm sector, more farmers are calling it quits. In particular, many operators who do not own ground and are dependent upon renting the land of others are struggling to hold on. Many are selling farm assets and securing full-time off-farm employment to make ends meet. It’s a quiet exodus, but it comes with hidden danger.
Tom Brennan, his son James Brennan, and Michael Potter recently pleaded guilty in the Northern District of Iowa to charges of wire fraud in connection with their organic farm operation. Wire fraud involves an intentional scheme to defraud with the use of interstate wires.
After months of uncertainty, the United States reached a trade deal with Mexico and Canada on September 30, 2018. The news of this $1.2 trillion deal is met with favorable reaction from both commodity groups and farmers. In May 2017, President Trump announced his intent to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). On August 27, 2018, Mexico and the United States reached a bilateral agreement for the updated NAFTA. Canada entered into an agreement just before the midnight deadline on September 30.
On October 3, 2018, IRS issued Notice 2018-76, which was welcome news for many business owners. The Notice provides transitional guidance on the deductibility of business meal expenses in light of the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act's disallowance of deductions for entertainment expenses.
The Iowa Court of Appeals recently considered the issue of witness credibility in a will contest. On September 12, 2018, the Court of Appeals found that despite a witness to the will not remembering the details of the will signing, she possessed the requisite memory overall to authenticate the will.
On September 12, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed the Polk County District Court’s ruling that a mother had intentionally given title of her house to only one of her two daughters. In Andrews v. Carter, the mother chose to transfer title of her home to the daughter who had been her primary caregiver as she aged. The other daughter had argued that the mother intended for her sister to hold the house, in constructive trust, for the benefit of both daughters until the mother died.
On September 12, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a Carroll County District Court ruling for the abatement of a nuisance in the form of a grain leg located near the Arthur N. Neu Airport in Carroll County. The court ruled that a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finding that the improvement was not a hazard to air navigation did not preempt state and local law.
The lion’s share of payments under the new Market Facilitation Program (MFP) are going to pork and soybean producers. Given the most recent USDA production estimates, Iowa producers stand to gain more than $550 million from this program.
Just when many thought the 2015 Clean Water Rule or “WOTUS” was relegated to the archives of history, it has been revived. In fact, as of mid-September 2018, WOTUS is the controlling definition for “waters of the United States” in 22 states. As of September 18, 2018, Iowa was no longer among them. And the status for the remaining states could change at any time.
Creating a will is an important step in ensuring your loved ones know where your possessions should go at the time of death. Another important consideration after making a will is how you will store it. Courts usually require that the original will be used at the time of probate. This means that if the original will cannot be found, the court will likely find that the decedent destroyed the will with the intent to revoke it.
On August 27, 2018, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of new programs designed to assist farmers in response to ongoing trade disputes. USDA will authorize $12 billion for three primary programs:
Many are closely monitoring a number of North Carolina nuisance lawsuits filed against Murphy-Brown a division of Smithfield Foods. Since April, juries have rendered three large verdicts against the hog integrator, the most recent verdict issued August 3.
It is generally advisable for business owners to form a separate legal entity to limit personal liability stemming from business contracts or torts. Incorporating or organizing as an LLC can limit owners’ personal liability to the extent of their investments. This liability shield, however, is not without exception.
On August 15, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment in favor of a landlord, finding that a seed supplier could not recover where the customer was a custom farmer. This case highlights the need for written contracts over oral agreements.
Treasury and the IRS released IRC § 199A proposed regulations, REG-107892-18, on August 8, 2018. The regulations will not officially apply until they are adopted as final; however, taxpayers can rely on §§1.199A-1 through 1.199A-6 until final rules are adopted.
We’ve been patiently (or maybe not so patiently!) awaiting guidance for many of the key provisions in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act for months now. As July turns to August, we continue the wait.
On July 18, 2018, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court judgment declaring a testator’s will invalid on the grounds of lack of testamentary capacity and undue influence and finding her son liable for intentional tortious interference with a bequest.
Many laws passed during the 2018 Iowa Legislative Session impact agricultural producers and landowners. A number of these laws went into effect July 1, 2018. Following is a summary of the highlights.
It is a question that has come before the United States Supreme Court on two prior occasions: When can a state require an out-of-state seller to collect and remit sales tax? The Court has twice found that the collection obligation turned on whether the seller had a “physical presence” in the state. But, this time, the answer was different. Recognizing that the Court’s prior decisions got it wrong, the Court in South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., No. 17-494 (U.S. Sup. Ct.
The Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation does not provide legal advice. Any information provided on this website is not intended to be a substitute for legal services from a competent professional. The Center's work is supported by fee-based seminars and generous private gifts. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in the material contained on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of Iowa State University.