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April 15, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Court of Appeals again set forth the requirements to prove an easement by prescription as yet another family feud played out in the court system.

April 14, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently had the opportunity to interpret Iowa Code §562.5A, which, in the absence of a writing to the contrary, grants tenants the right to harvest corn stalks until the lease terminates. Little has been written about his law, which was enacted in 2010 in response to the growing value of corn stalks.

The Iowa Supreme Court has reversed a declaratory judgment from the Clarke County District Court that authorized the use of eminent domain for a controversial new water reservoir. The district court’s order had declared that a proposal by the Clarke County Reservoir Commission (Commission) to condemn private property to construct a reservoir met the “public use,” “public purpose,” or “public improvement” requirements of Iowa Code §6A.24(2).

April 8, 2015 | Roger A. McEowen

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In a blogpost yesterday, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy announced that their offices had sent a draft final version of what's been called the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule to the Office of Management and Budget on April 3.

April 3, 2015 | Roger A. McEowen

As the general economy continues to struggle, the farm economy will have another tough year.  Crop prices have declined significantly from where they were a couple of years ago, and financial stress among producers is increasing.  In the general economy, the March 2015 jobs report tells an awful tale – a record 93.175 million Americans 16 years old and older are not working, the January and Feb

April 2, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On April 1, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit admonished the USDA for denying farm program benefits to a farmer and forcing him to “navigate a bureaucratic labyrinth,” all the while “demonstrat[ing] a disregard for its own regulations.”

April 1, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

April Fool's Day seems the appropriate time to highlight what's become a near daily mantra: beware of tax-related scams and schemes. Unfortunately, these warnings continue because the sophistication of the scammers is exploding. No longer is it merely the naive who are being sucked in by these scams.

March 30, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Iowa recently ruled in favor of the debtors in an adversary action brought by their bank. The bank argued that the debtors’ obligations under a promissory note and an agricultural security agreement should be excepted from discharge in their Chapter 7 bankruptcy under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(6).

March 27, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently affirmed a judgment in favor of one brother against another in a case alleging breach of an oral contract for the sale of hay.

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently had the opportunity to interpret a family settlement agreement. Determining that the agreement was unambiguous, the court affirmed the district court’s interpretation.

March 27, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

USDA has just announced that owners and producers will have one more week to reallocate base acres or elect between Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). The new deadline for both activities is now April 7, 2015. This marks the second extension for owners to update their yield histories or reallocate base acres.

This article was updated on March 27 to include a section addressing termination of a lease for nonpayment of rent. This section can be found on page five.

There are numerous concepts associated with creating an effective lease for a farming operation.  A good lease can be a useful tool, but a lease that is inadequate can cause uncertainty and create problems.  Also, income tax, social security tax, estate and business planning as well as other economic issues are associated with farm leases.

March 26, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently upheld a $212,340 verdict in favor of an Iowa businessman in his fraudulent misrepresentation lawsuit against a former employer.

March 25, 2015 | Roger A. McEowen

The drop in crop prices in recent months has introduced financial strain for some producers.  Bankruptcy practitioners that we know are reporting an increase in clients dealing with debt workouts and other bankruptcy-related concerns.  We will produce a technical article for TaxPlace on the debt discharge rules for farmers, but below is an outline of the basics.

The 2014 Farm Bill was enacted into law in early 2014.  It contains the farm program rules that will govern participating farmers for the next five years.  Under the new rules, the total amount of payments that an individual or entity can receive either directly or indirectly (except for a joint venture or general partnership) for any crop year is $125,000.  Spouses are able to double that amou

March 23, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Court of Appeals determined that damage from “rainwater” flowing from a broken interior pipe into a business was not damage “caused by rain” so as to be excluded from coverage under the policy. On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court disagreed, vacating the Court of Appeals decision, and affirming the district court’s summary judgment in favor of the insurance company. 

March 23, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The ACA "relief" saga continues. On Friday, March 20, after discovering more erroneous Form 1095-As, the Treasury Department issued "expanded" relief .

There have been numerous cases in recent years involving farmers who have been found to have violated a patent on seeds and had to pay a tidy sum as a result.  One question came into us recently about whether a payment a farmer had to make to settle a claim concerning patented seeds that he illegally saved, replanted and also resold could be deducted. 

March 16, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

On March 16, 2015, the Des Moines Board of Water Works Trustees (DMWW) followed through on its January threat and filed a federal Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit against the supervisors and drainage districts of three Iowa counties. The lawsuit, which was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, alleges that the supervisors, in their capacity as trustees for the drainage districts, are operating the drainage districts in an “unlawful and antisocial” manner that is contrary to the “public health and welfare.” 

March 19, 2015 | Roger A. McEowen

2013 marked the beginning of major changes in the estate planning landscape. While there had been significant changes to the transfer tax system before 2013, particularly with respect to the changes wrought by the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Recovery Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), the EGTRRA changes expired after 10 years. 

March 19, 2015 | Roger A. McEowen

We’ve received a lot of questions recently involving how to treat unharvested crops at death for tax purposes.  It’s a great question.  We’ll develop a technical piece for TaxPlace on the topic, but here we go over the basic issues that arise and the general rules.

March 18, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

Readers interested in the new Des Moines Board of Water Works federal lawsuit may have followed another federal lawsuit last year, the "California egg case" as it was often called. These readers may be wondering, “What ever happened to that egg case?” The answer is that it’s still winding its way slowly through the federal court system. The status of Missouri v. Harris, No.

March 16, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Des Moines Board of Water Works Trustees has filed its complaint against the Supervisors of Calhoun, Sac, and Buena Vista Counties in their capacities as trustees of Iowa drainage districts.

March 13, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Utilities Board ruled this week that Dakota Access, LLC, substantially complied with Iowa law when it notified landowners of its plans to seek a permit to build an oil pipeline across their property.

March 12, 2015 | Roger A. McEowen

We had an interesting question come into the office recently.  The question involved the tax treatment of a biofiltration system for a farmer.  I wasn’t familiar with the concept so I did a little research to find out exactly what a biofiltration system is.  Basically, biofiltration removes contaminates (such as nitrates) in water by metabolizing microorganisms as the water flows past.

March 11, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

It can be hard to convince a court that money advanced from one party to another for a business purpose is a gift. It’s going to be even harder when you’re arguing on behalf of someone who has died.

As threatened in January, the Des Moines Board of Water Works Trustees voted today to proceed with a federal Clean Water Act (CWA) citizen lawsuit against the supervisors of three Iowa Counties.

March 9, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The legal wrangling over the validity of local ordinances seeking to stop the growing of Genetically Engineered Organisms (GMO) continues in Hawaii. At the center of the litigation is United States Magistrate Judge Kurren, who, last Thursday, ruled that a state court action seeking a declaration that a Maui County GMO ban is legally valid was properly removed to federal court.

Since 1985, the Iowa Supreme Court has recognized an implied warranty of workmanlike construction for homeowners. The purpose of the warranty is to address the disparity in bargaining power and expertise between the consumer and a sophisticated builder-vendor. It provides the homeowner a cause of action against the builder where the house, when sold, was not reasonably fit for its intended purpose or had not been constructed in a good and workmanlike manner. 

March 6, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

State laws differ in the protections they grant to landowners facing eminent domain.

March 5, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

Last fall, we fielded a number of calls at the Center from Iowa landlords whose tenants failed to make their rental payments on time. In most of these cases, the tenant was offered the right to make the yearly payment in two installments, one at the beginning of the lease term and the other six months later.

March 3, 2015 | Roger A. McEowen

A recent decision by the Illinois Court of Appeals involved a small farm that a town tried to zone out of existence.  The case involved the town's ability to zone agricultural activities and the state's right-to-farm law.  The plaintiff, a small town of 230 people, sued the defendants, a married couple, for violating a town ordinance which declared commercial farming within the town boundaries

March 2, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

In a last-minute announcement, the IRS has declared that farmers waiting for a corrected 1095-A will have until April 15 to file their returns and pay their taxes.

February 27, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

As we near the end of February, several key Farm Program deadlines are looming.

February 25, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently affirmed a legal malpractice judgment against a law firm that represented an Iowa bank in an unsuccessful accounting malpractice action. The court determined that, in addition to damages stemming from the unsuccessful lawsuit, the bank was entitled to collect the attorney fees paid to the law firm to prosecute the accounting malpractice action.

February 25, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

Iowa Governor Branstad signed S.F. 257 into law today, raising the Iowa excise tax on fuel for motor vehicles (including gasoline and diesel fuel) by 10 cents per gallon. Iowans will likely face the increase by Sunday, the first day of the first month following the enactment of the law.

February 24, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

We learned late last week that sent out about 800,000 incorrect 1095-A Forms to taxpayers. Apparently, some states with exchanges, including California, did the same thing. These forms incorrectly reported the premium amount for the second-lowest priced Silver plan from 2015, not 2014.

February 23, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

A recent Iowa Court of Appeals decision should alert landlords of all kinds to their potential premises liability to third parties. Although the basic Iowa rule is that a lessor is not liable for injuries occurring after a lessee has taken possession of the property, there are a number of exceptions to the rule.

February 17, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken a large first step toward allowing operators to legally fly small “drones” or unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial purposes on a widespread basis in the United States.

The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments next month in a case that could ultimately be the death knell for the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  The case involves the Premium Assistance Tax Credit (PATC) of I.R.C. §36B, and the question before the Court is whether the credit is available to a taxpayer who acquires health insurance from a federal exchange.

February 19, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

I'm not trying to sound ungrateful for the much-needed guidance we received from IRS yesterday in Notice 2015-17. Relief from penalties, even if limited, is always welcome.

When I was in journalism school, my professors had a policy that if you spelled a name wrong in a story, you flunked the assignment. The Iowa Court of Appeals recently ruled that if you describe the wrong property in your quiet title petition, you get your case dismissed.

IRS has just issued Notice 2015-17, which provides some important guidance regarding the dreaded IRC § 4980D excise tax (for violating Affordable Care Act market reforms) and its applicability to small employers. It also provides some limited relief from the penalty in certain circumstances. Following is a summary of the guidance.

February 16, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The FAA released proposed rules on February 15, 2015, that would, if implemented, finally open the door for the use of small unmanned aircraift systems (UAS) in agriculture and other industries.

Rock Island Clean Line (RICL) is seeking a franchise from the Iowa Utitlies Board (IUB) to build a high voltage direct current line across Iowa. The line would transport wind energy generated in northwest Iowa to Illinois. It would cross 16 Iowa counties and 1,540 parcels of land, impacting 2,295 different owners.

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently weighed in on the important issue of valuing a closely held family corporation in a dissolution proceeding. Calling such valuations an “inherently difficult endeavor,” the court landed on a 20 percent marketability discount and increased the equalization payment the husband was to pay the wife.

February 11, 2015 | Kristine A. Tidgren

The Iowa Court of Appeals decided another boundary by acquiescence case on February 11, this time finding that no such boundary was established.

In a 2-1 decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that Indiana law does not prohibit high-fence hunting of white-tailed deer, a practice also known as “canned hunting.” Hunters engaged in high-fence hunting shoot the animals on property enclosed by a fence. This practice often involves white-tail deer bred to have large antlers.

The Iowa Court of Appeals recently determined that the owner of a landlocked parcel had a right to seek condemnation for an access road, but improperly sought to condemn a route that did not meet the statutory requirements.  The case is a good illustration of the statutory rules that must be followed for establishing the location of a right-of-way via condemnation.