Senate Finance Panel passes small business tax breaks

The Senate Finance Committee this week passed a package of tax extenders, including several of importance to agriculture. NPPC joined 32 other agricultural organization in urging the committee to approve extension of several tax breaks that expired at the end of last year, including the Section 179 small business expensing and bonus depreciation provisions.

The committee extended more than 50 tax breaks for two years. In a letter sent to finance panel Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., the groups pointed out that agriculture requires large investments in machinery, equipment and other depreciable assets. Section 179 allows farmer to write off capital expenditures in the year that purchases are made rather than depreciate them over time. “The ability to immediately expense capital purchases also provides an incentive for farmers and ranchers to invest in their businesses and offers the benefit of reducing the record keeping burden associated with the depreciation,” wrote the organizations. Under the expired tax provision, the maximum amount a small business could have immediately expensed when purchasing business assets instead of depreciating them over time was $25,000 adjusted for inflation.

The groups asked the Finance Committee to restore the maximum amount to $500,000 as it was for the 2010 through 2014 tax years. They also asked that the expired 50 percent bonus depreciation for the purchase of new capital assets, including agricultural equipment, be reinstated. The House already approved permanent extensions of some tax extenders under its “America's Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2015,” including the Section 179 provision, with a $500,000 maximum tax deduction.

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