Today might be tax day, but the National Cattlemen's Beef Association says it's a time to think about moving forward to future tax days and re-worked tax policies that focus more on permanent changes to the tax code.
"There's uncertainty in the tax code – it keeps expiring every year to two years and we really want more permanency," NCBA's Associate Director of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus said in an NCBA interview.
Bacus said the group has been focusing on a tax code representative of "21st century views." Two things the House has already has acted upon this year are permanent extension of higher Section 179 expensing levels and the conservation easement tax credit.
The Senate has taken a different approach, Bacus explained, instead reviewing a broader set of reforms to the tax code.
"NCBA is engaging there, we're going to submit some comments this week," Bacus confirmed, which will focus on supporting permanent 2014 Section 179 expensing levels.
A permanent extension of higher Section 179 levels is especially important for farmers as it allows farmers, ranchers and small business owners to deduct up to $500,000 in qualifying expenses with a phase-out threshold of $2 million. The House approved such a provision on Feb. 13.
Bacus said bonus depreciation is another focus, as well as making sure cash accounting "remains a part of our tax code," he said. The Conservation Easement Tax Credit and capital gains taxes are other considerations for the group, he added.
"One big fight that we'll have on our hands this year is making sure that the 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges are not eliminated," he said. "There's a big push to get rid of those and that's an important section of the tax code that we want to see left alone."
The 1031 Like-Kind Exchange allows producers to sell business or investment property with a gain, without paying tax on the gain if the proceeds are reinvested in similar property, according to the IRS.
There's also been movement on the estate tax – or "death tax," Bacus said. Two legislators have been focusing on eliminating the provision, which sometimes requires assets central to a family farm to be sold to pay the taxes, an NCBA member told legislators last month.
A bill in the House to repeal the estate tax already has been voted out of the Ways and Means Committee, Bacus said, and a vote is hopeful this week in the House.
Though full tax reform has been moving slowly as of late, Bacus said he expects considerable talk about taxes to continue. One hurdle could be the hubbub surrounding presidential election announcements, however.
"While that's exciting it also distracts a lot from the efforts on Capitol Hill," Bacus said, "so I think if we don't see tax reform by this summer it's going to be very tough to have anything throughout the rest of this Congress."