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previous page Previous Page: Publication 225 - Farmer's Tax Guide - Income Averaging for Farmers
next page Next Page: Publication 225 - Farmer's Tax Guide - Domestic Production Activities Deduction
 Use previous pagenext page to find additional occurrences of topic items.Index for this Publication
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077320

Chapter 4
Farm Business Expenses(p19)

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Farm expenses


What's New(p19)


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taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077322

Standard mileage rate.(p19)

For 2008, the standard mileage rate for each mile of business use is: See Truck and Car Expenses, later.

taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#TXMP6f88ce4bIntroduction

You can generally deduct the current costs of operating your farm. Current costs are expenses you do not have to capitalize or include in inventory costs. However, your deduction for the cost of livestock feed and certain other supplies may be limited. If you have an operating loss, you may not be able to deduct all of it.

taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#TXMP04a2ded2

Useful items

You may want to see:


Publication
 463 Travel, Entertainment, Gift, and Car Expenses
 535 Business Expenses
 587 Business Use of Your Home
 925 Passive Activity and At-Risk Rules
 936 Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
Form (and Instructions)
 Sch A (Form 1040): Itemized 
Deductions

 Sch F (Form 1040): Profit or Loss From Farming
 1045: Application for Tentative Refund
 5213: Election To Postpone 
Determination as To Whether the Presumption Applies That an 
Activity Is Engaged in for Profit

 8903: Domestic Production Activities Deduction
See chapter 16 for information about getting publications and forms.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077323

Deductible Expenses(p19)


rule
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previous topic occurrence Deductible Expenses next topic occurrence

The ordinary and necessary costs of operating a farm for profit are deductible business expenses. Part II of Schedule F lists expenses common to farming operations. This chapter discusses many of these expenses, as well as others not listed on Schedule F.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077324

Reimbursed expenses.(p19)


rule
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If an expense is reimbursed, either reduce the expense or report the reimbursement as income when received. See Refund or reimbursement under Income From Other Sources in chapter 3.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077325

Personal and business expenses.(p19)


rule
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Some expenses you pay during the tax year may be partly personal and partly business. These may include expenses for gasoline, oil, fuel, water, rent, electricity, telephone, automobile upkeep, repairs, insurance, interest, and taxes.
You must allocate these mixed expenses between their business and personal parts. Generally, the personal part of these expenses is not deductible.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077326

Example.(p19)

You paid $1,500 for electricity during the tax year. You used 1/3 of the electricity for personal purposes and 2/3 for farming. Under these circumstances, you can deduct $1,000 (2/3 of $1,500) of your electricity expense as a farm business expense.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077327

Reasonable allocation.(p19)
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It is not always easy to determine the business and nonbusiness parts of an expense. There is no method of allocation that applies to all mixed expenses. Any reasonable allocation is acceptable. What is reasonable depends on the circumstances in each case.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077328

Prepaid Farm Supplies(p19)


rule
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Prepaid Farm Supplies

Prepaid farm supplies are amounts paid during the tax year for the following items.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077329

Deduction limit.(p19)


rule
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If you use the cash method of accounting to report your income and expenses, your deduction for prepaid farm supplies in the year you pay for them may be limited to 50% of your other deductible farm expenses for the year (all Schedule F deductions except prepaid farm supplies). This limit does not apply if you meet one of the exceptions described later.
If the limit applies, you can deduct the excess cost of farm supplies other than poultry in the year you use or consume the supplies. The excess cost of poultry bought for use (or for both use and resale) in your farm business is deductible in the year following the year you pay for it. The excess cost of poultry bought for resale is deductible in the year you sell or otherwise dispose of that poultry.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077330

Example.(p19)

During 2008, you bought fertilizer ($4,000), feed ($1,000), and seed ($500) for use on your farm in the following year. Your total prepaid farm supplies expense for 2008 is $5,500. Your other deductible farm expenses totaled $10,000 for 2008. Therefore, your deduction for prepaid farm supplies cannot be more than $5,000 (50% of $10,000) for 2008. The excess prepaid farm supplies expense of $500 ($5,500 − $5,000) is deductible in the later tax year you use or consume the supplies.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077331

Exceptions.(p19)
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This limit on the deduction for prepaid farm supplies expense does not apply if you are a farm-related taxpayer and either of the following apply.
  1. Your prepaid farm supplies expense is more than 50% of your other deductible farm expenses because of a change in business operations caused by unusual circumstances.
  2. Your total prepaid farm supplies expense for the preceding 3 tax years is less than 50% of your total other deductible farm expenses for those 3 tax years.
You are a farm-related taxpayer if any of the following tests apply.
  1. Your main home is on a farm.
  2. Your principal business is farming.
  3. A member of your family meets (1) or (2).
For this purpose, your family includes your brothers and sisters, half-brothers and half-sisters, spouse, parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, and aunts and uncles and their children.
EIC
Whether or not the deduction limit for prepaid farm supplies applies, your expenses for prepaid livestock feed may be subject to the rules for advance payment of livestock feed, discussed next.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077333

Prepaid Livestock Feed(p20)


rule
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Prepaid Livestock Feed

If you report your income and expenses under the cash method of accounting, you cannot deduct in the year paid the cost of feed your livestock will consume in a later year unless you meet all the following tests.
  1. The payment is for the purchase of feed rather than a deposit.
  2. The prepayment has a business purpose and is not merely for tax avoidance.
  3. Deducting the prepayment does not result in a material distortion of your income.
If you meet all three tests, you can deduct the prepaid feed, subject to the limit on prepaid farm supplies discussed earlier.
If you fail any of these tests, you can deduct the prepaid feed only in the year it is consumed.
EIC
This rule does not apply to the purchase of commodity futures contracts.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077335

Payment for the purchase of feed.(p20)


rule
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Whether a payment is for the purchase of feed or a deposit depends on the facts and circumstances in each case. It is for the purchase of feed if you can show you made it under a binding commitment to accept delivery of a specific quantity of feed at a fixed price and you are not entitled, by contract or business custom, to a refund or repurchase.
The following are some factors that show a payment is a deposit rather than for the purchase of feed.
A provision permitting substitution of ingredients to vary the particular feed mix to meet your livestock's current diet requirements will not suggest a deposit. Further, a price adjustment to reflect market value at the date of delivery is not, by itself, proof of a deposit.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077336

Business purpose.(p20)


rule
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The prepayment has a business purpose only if you have a reasonable expectation of receiving some business benefit from prepaying the cost of livestock feed. The following are some examples of business benefits.
Other factors considered in determining the existence of a business purpose are whether the prepayment was a condition imposed by the seller and whether that condition was meaningful.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077337

No material distortion of income.(p20)


rule
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The following are some factors considered in determining whether deducting prepaid livestock feed materially distorts income.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077338

Labor Hired(p20)


rule
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Labor Hired

You can deduct reasonable wages paid for regular farm labor, piecework, contract labor, and other forms of labor hired to perform your farming operations. You can pay wages in cash or in noncash items such as inventory, capital assets, or assets used in your business. The cost of boarding farm labor is a deductible labor cost. Other deductible costs you incur for farm labor include health insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and other benefits.
If you must withhold social security, Medicare, and income taxes from your employees' cash wages, you can still deduct the full amount of wages before withholding. See chapter 13 for more information on employment taxes. Also, deduct the employer's share of the social security and Medicare taxes you must pay on your employees' wages as a farm business expense on the Taxes line of Schedule F (line 31). See Taxes, later.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077339

Property for services.(p20)


rule
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If you transfer property to an employee in payment for services, you can deduct as wages paid the fair market value of the property on the date of transfer. If the employee pays you anything for the property, deduct as wages the fair market value of the property minus the payment by the employee for the property.
Treat the wages deducted as an amount received for the property. You may have a gain or loss to report if the property's adjusted basis on the date of transfer is different from its fair market value. Any gain or loss has the same character the exchanged property had in your hands. For more information, see chapter 8.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077340

Child as an employee.(p20)


rule
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You can deduct reasonable wages or other compensation you pay to your child for doing farmwork if a true employer-employee relationship exists between you and your child. Include these wages in the child's income. The child may have to file an income tax return. These wages may also be subject to social security and Medicare taxes if your child is age 18 or older. For more information, see Family Employees in chapter 13.
Deposit
A Form W-2 should be issued to the child employee.
The fact that your child spends the wages to buy clothes or other necessities you normally furnish does not prevent you from deducting your child's wages as a farm expense.
EIC
The amount of wages paid to the child could cause a loss of the dependency exemption depending on how the child uses the money.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077343

Spouse as an employee.(p20)


rule
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You can deduct reasonable wages or other compensation you pay to your spouse if a true employer-employee relationship exists between you and your spouse. Wages you pay to your spouse are subject to social security and Medicare taxes. For more information, see Family Employees in chapter 13.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077344

Nondeductible Pay(p20)


rule
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Nondeductible Pay

You cannot deduct wages paid for certain household work, construction work, and maintenance of your home. However, those wages may be subject to the employment taxes discussed in chapter 13.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077345

Household workers.(p20)


rule
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Do not deduct amounts paid to persons engaged in household work, except to the extent their services are used in boarding or otherwise caring for farm laborers.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077346

Construction labor.(p20)


rule
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Do not deduct wages paid to hired help for the construction of new buildings or other improvements. These wages are part of the cost of the building or other improvement. You must capitalize them.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077347

Maintaining your home.(p20)


rule
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If your farm employee spends time maintaining or repairing your home, the wages and employment taxes you pay for that work are nondeductible personal expenses. For example, assume you have a farm employee for the entire tax year and the employee spends 5% of the time maintaining your home. The employee devotes the remaining time to work on your farm. You cannot deduct 5% of the wages and employment taxes you pay for that employee.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077348

Employment Credits(p20)


rule
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Employment Credits

Reduce your deduction for wages by the amount of any employment credits you claim. The following are employment credits and their related forms.
For more information, see the forms and their instructions.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077350

Repairs and Maintenance(p21)


rule
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Repairs and Maintenance

You can deduct most expenses for the repair and maintenance of your farm property. Common items of repair and maintenance are repainting, replacing shingles and supports on farm buildings, and periodic or routine maintenance of trucks, tractors, and other farm machinery. However, repairs to, or overhauls of, depreciable property that substantially prolong the life of the property, increase its value, or adapt it to a different use are capital expenses. For example, if you repair the barn roof, the cost is deductible. But if you replace the roof, it is a capital expense. For more information, see Capital Expenses, later.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077351

Interest(p21)


rule
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previous topic occurrence Interest next topic occurrence

You can deduct as a farm business expense interest paid on farm mortgages and other obligations you incur in your farm business.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077352

Cash method.(p21)


rule
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If you use the cash method of accounting, you can generally deduct interest paid during the tax year. You cannot deduct interest paid with funds received from the original lender through another loan, advance, or other arrangement similar to a loan. You can, however, deduct the interest when you start making payments on the new loan.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077353

Prepaid interest.(p21)
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Under the cash method, you generally cannot deduct any interest paid before the year it is due. Interest paid in advance may be deducted only in the tax year in which it is due.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077354

Accrual method.(p21)


rule
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If you use an accrual method of accounting, you can deduct only interest that has accrued during the tax year. However, you cannot deduct interest owed to a related person who uses the cash method until payment is made and the interest is includible in the gross income of that person. For more information, see Accrual Method in chapter 2.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077355

Allocation of interest.(p21)


rule
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If you use the proceeds of a loan for more than one purpose, you must allocate the interest on that loan to each use. Allocate the interest to the following categories.
You generally allocate interest on a loan the same way you allocate the loan proceeds. You allocate loan proceeds by tracing disbursements to specific uses.
Deposit
The easiest way to trace disbursements to specific uses is to keep the proceeds of a particular loan separate from any other funds.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077357

Secured loan.(p21)
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The allocation of loan proceeds and the related interest is generally not affected by the use of property that secures the loan.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077358

Example.(p21)

You secure a loan with property used in your farming business. You use the loan proceeds to buy a car for personal use. You must allocate interest expense on the loan to personal use (purchase of the car) even though the loan is secured by farm business property.
Deposit
If the property that secures the loan is your home, you generally do not allocate the loan proceeds or the related interest. The interest is usually deductible as qualified home mortgage interest, regardless of how the loan proceeds are used. However, you can choose to treat the loan as not secured by your home. For more information, see Publication 936.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077360

Allocation period.(p21)
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The period for which a loan is allocated to a particular use begins on the date the proceeds are used and ends on the earlier of the following dates.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077361

More information.(p21)


rule
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For more information on interest, see chapter 4 in Publication 535.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077362

Breeding Fees(p21)


rule
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Breeding Fees

You can deduct breeding fees as a farm business expense. However, if you use an accrual method of accounting, you must capitalize breeding fees and allocate them to the cost basis of the calf, foal, etc. For more information on who must use an accrual method of accounting, see Accrual method required under Accounting Methods in chapter 2.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077363

Fertilizer and Lime(p21)


rule
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previous topic occurrence Fertilizer and Lime next topic occurrence

You can deduct in the year paid or incurred the cost of fertilizer, lime, and other materials applied to farmland to enrich, neutralize, or condition it if the benefits last a year or less. You can also deduct the cost of applying these materials in the year you pay or incur it. However, see Prepaid Farm Supplies, earlier, for a rule that may limit your deduction for these materials.
If the benefits of the fertilizer, lime, or other materials last substantially more than one year, you generally must capitalize their cost and deduct a part each year the benefits last. However, you can choose to deduct these expenses in the year paid or incurred. If you make this choice, you will need IRS approval if you later decide to capitalize the cost of previously deducted items.
Farmland, for these purposes, is land used for producing crops, fruits, or other agricultural products or for sustaining livestock. It does not include land you have never used previously for producing crops or sustaining livestock. You cannot deduct initial land preparation costs. (See Capital Expenses, later.)
Include government payments you receive for lime or fertilizer in income. See Fertilizer and Lime under Agricultural Program Payments in chapter 3.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077364

Taxes(p21)


rule
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You can deduct as a farm business expense the real estate and personal property taxes on farm business assets, such as farm equipment, animals, farmland, and farm buildings. You also can deduct the social security and Medicare taxes you pay to match the amount withheld from the wages of farm employees and any federal unemployment tax you pay. For information on employment taxes, see chapter 13.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077365

Allocation of taxes.(p21)


rule
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The taxes on the part of your farm you use as your home (including the furnishings and surrounding land not used for farming) are nonbusiness taxes. You may be able to deduct these nonbusiness taxes as itemized deductions on Schedule A (Form 1040). You may be able to take a deduction for nonbusiness real estate taxes you paid even if you do not itemize deductions on your income tax return. See the Instructions for Form 1040 for additional information. To determine the nonbusiness part, allocate the taxes between the farm assets and nonbusiness assets. The allocation can be done from the assessed valuations. If your tax statement does not show the assessed valuations, you can usually get them from the tax assessor.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077366

State and local general sales taxes.(p21)


rule
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State and local general sales taxes on nondepreciable farm business expense items are deductible as part of the cost of those items. Include state and local general sales taxes imposed on the purchase of assets for use in your farm business as part of the cost you depreciate. Also treat the taxes as part of your cost if they are imposed on the seller and passed on to you.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077367

State and federal income taxes.(p21)


rule
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Individuals cannot deduct state and federal income taxes as farm business expenses. Individuals can deduct state and local income taxes only as an itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040). However, you cannot deduct federal income tax.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077368

Highway use tax.(p21)


rule
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You can deduct the federal use tax on highway motor vehicles paid on a truck or truck tractor used in your farm business. For information on the tax itself, including information on vehicles subject to the tax, see the Instructions for Form 2290, Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077369

Self-employment tax deduction.(p21)


rule
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You can deduct one-half of your self-employment tax in figuring your adjusted gross income on Form 1040. For more information, see chapter 12.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077370

Insurance(p21)


rule
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previous topic occurrence Insurance next topic occurrence

You generally can deduct the ordinary and necessary cost of insurance for your farm business as a business expense. This includes premiums you pay for the following types of insurance.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077371

Insurance to secure a loan.(p22)


rule
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If you take out a policy on your life or on the life of another person with a financial interest in your farm business to get or protect a business loan, you cannot deduct the premiums as a business expense. In the event of death, the proceeds of the policy are not taxed as income even if they are used to liquidate the debt.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077372

Advance premiums.(p22)


rule
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Deduct advance payments of insurance premiums only in the year to which they apply, regardless of your accounting method.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077373

Example.(p22)

On June 28, 2008, you paid a premium of $3,000 for fire insurance on your barn. The policy will cover a period of 3 years beginning on July 1, 2008. Only the cost for the 6 months in 2008 is deductible as an insurance expense on your 2008 calendar year tax return. Deduct $500, which is the premium for 6 months of the 36-month premium period, or 6/36 of $3,000. In both 2009 and 2010, deduct $1,000 (12/36 of $3,000). Deduct the remaining $500 in 2011. Had the policy been effective on January 1, 2008, the deductible expense would have been $1,000 for each of the years 2008, 2009, and 2010, based on one-third of the premium used each year.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077374

Business interruption insurance.(p22)


rule
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Use and occupancy and business interruption insurance premiums are deductible as a business expense. This insurance pays for lost profits if your business is shut down due to a fire or other cause. Report any proceeds in full in Part I of Schedule F.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077375

Self-employed health insurance deduction.(p22)


rule
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If you are self-employed, you can deduct your payments for medical, dental, and qualified long-term care insurance coverage for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents when figuring your adjusted gross income on your Form 1040. Generally, this deduction cannot be more than the net profit from the business under which the plan was established.
If you or your spouse is also an employee of another person, you cannot take the deduction for any month in which you are eligible to participate in a subsidized health plan maintained by your employer or your spouse's employer.
Generally, use the Self-Employed Health Insurance Deduction Worksheet in the Form 1040 instructions to figure your deduction. Include the remaining part of the insurance payment in your medical expenses on Schedule A (Form 1040) if you itemize your deductions.
For more information, see Deductible Premiums in chapter 6 of Publication 535.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077376

Rent and Leasing(p22)


rule
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Rent and Leasing

If you lease property for use in your farm business, you can generally deduct the rent you pay on Schedule F. However, you cannot deduct rent you pay in crop shares if you deduct the cost of raising the crops as farm expenses.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077377

Advance payments.(p22)


rule
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Deduct advance payments of rent only in the year to which they apply, regardless of your accounting method.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077378

Farm home.(p22)


rule
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If you rent a farm, do not deduct the part of the rental expense that represents the fair rental value of the farm home in which you live.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077379

Lease or Purchase(p22)


rule
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Lease or Purchase

If you lease a farm building or equipment, you must determine whether or not the agreement must be treated as a conditional sales contract rather than a lease. If the agreement is treated as a conditional sales contract, the payments under the agreement (so far as they do not represent interest or other charges) are payments for the purchase of the property. Do not deduct these payments as rent, but capitalize the cost of the property and recover this cost through depreciation.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077380

Example.(p22)

You lease new farm equipment from a dealer who both sells and leases. The agreement includes an option to purchase the equipment for a specified price. The lease payments and the specified option price equal the sales price of the equipment plus interest. Under the agreement, you are responsible for maintenance, repairs, and the risk of loss. For federal income tax purposes, the agreement is a conditional sales contract. You cannot deduct any of the lease payments as rent. You can deduct interest, repairs, insurance, depreciation, and other expenses related to the equipment.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077381

Conditional sales contract.(p22)


rule
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Whether an agreement is a conditional sales contract depends on the intent of the parties. Determine intent based on the provisions of the agreement and the facts and circumstances that exist when you make the agreement. No single test, or special combination of tests, always applies. However, in general, an agreement may be considered a conditional sales contract rather than a lease if any of the following is true.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077382

Motor vehicle leases.(p22)


rule
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Special rules apply to lease agreements that have a terminal rental adjustment clause. In general, this is a clause that provides for a rental price adjustment based on the amount the lessor is able to sell the vehicle for at the end of the lease. If your rental agreement contains a terminal rental adjustment clause, treat the agreement as a lease if the agreement otherwise qualifies as a lease. For more information, see section 7701(h) of the Internal Revenue Code.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077383

Leveraged leases.(p22)


rule
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Special rules apply to leveraged leases of equipment (arrangements in which the equipment is financed by a nonrecourse loan from a third party). For more information, see chapter 3 of Publication 535 and the following revenue procedures. You can find Revenue Procedure 2001-28 on page 1156 and Revenue Procedure 2001-29 on page 1160 of Internal Revenue Bulletin 2001-19 at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-irbs/irb01-19.pdf.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077384

Depreciation(p22)


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previous topic occurrence Depreciation next topic occurrence

If property you acquire to use in your farm business is expected to last more than one year, you generally cannot deduct the entire cost in the year you acquire it. You must recover the cost over more than one year and deduct part of it each year on Schedule F as depreciation or amortization. However, you can choose to deduct part or all of the cost of certain qualifying property, up to a limit, as a section 179 deduction in the year you place it in service.
Depreciation, amortization, and the section 179 deduction are discussed in chapter 7.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077385

Business Use of Your Home(p22)


rule
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previous topic occurrence Home Used for Business next topic occurrence

You can deduct expenses for the business use of your home if you use part of your home exclusively and regularly:
Your home office will qualify as your principal place of business for deducting expenses for its use if you meet both of the following requirements.
If you use part of your home for business, you must divide the expenses of operating your home between personal and business use.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077386

Deduction limit.(p23)


rule
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If your gross income from farming equals or exceeds your total farm expenses (including expenses for the business use of your home), you can deduct all your farm expenses. But if your gross income from farming is less than your total farm expenses, your deduction for certain expenses for the use of your home in your farming business is limited.
Your deduction for otherwise nondeductible expenses, such as utilities, insurance, and depreciation (with depreciation taken last), cannot be more than the gross income from farming minus the following expenses.
Deductions over the current year's limit can be carried over to your next tax year. They are subject to the deduction limit for the next tax year.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077387

More information.(p23)


rule
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See Publication 587 for more information on deducting expenses for the business use of your home.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077388

Telephone expense.(p23)


rule
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You cannot deduct the cost of basic local telephone service (including any taxes) for the first telephone line you have in your home, even if you have an office in your home. However, charges for business long-distance phone calls on that line, as well as the cost of a second line into your home used exclusively for your farm business, are deductible business expenses.
taxmap/pubs/p225-013.htm#en_us_publink100077389

Truck and Car Expenses(p23)


rule
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previous topic occurrence Car and Truck Expenses next topic occurrence

You can deduct the actual cost of operating a truck or car in your farm business. Only expenses for business use are deductible. These include such items as gasoline, oil, repairs, license tags, insurance, and depreciation (subject to certain limits).
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Standard mileage rate.(p23)


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Instead of using actual costs, under certain conditions you can use the standard mileage rate. For 2008, the standard mileage rate for each mile of business use is: You can use the standard mileage rate for a car or a light truck, such as a van, pickup, or panel truck, you own or lease.
You cannot use the standard mileage rate if you operate five or more cars or light trucks at the same time. You are not using five or more vehicles at the same time if you alternate using the vehicles (you use them at different times) for business.
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Example.(p23)

Maureen owns a car and four pickup trucks that are used in her farm business. Her farm employees use the trucks and she uses the car for business. Maureen cannot use the standard mileage rate for the car or the trucks. This is because all five vehicles are used in Maureen's farm business at the same time. She must use actual expenses for all vehicles.
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Business use percentage.(p23)


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You can claim 75% of the use of a car or light truck as business use without any records if you used the vehicle during most of the normal business day directly in connection with the business of farming. You choose this method of substantiating business use the first year the vehicle is placed in service. Once you make this choice, you may not change to another method later. The following are uses directly connected with the business of farming.
If you keep records and they show that your business use was more than 75%, you may be able to claim more. See Recordkeeping requirements under Travel Expenses, below.
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More information.(p23)


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For more information on deductible truck and car expenses, see chapter 4 of Publication 463. If you pay your employees for the use of their truck or car in your farm business, see Reimbursements to employees under Travel Expenses, next.
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Travel Expenses(p23)


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previous topic occurrence Out-of-town Transportation next topic occurrence

You can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses you incur while traveling away from home for your farm business. You cannot deduct lavish or extravagant expenses. Usually, the location of your farm business is considered your home for tax purposes. You are traveling away from home if:
If you meet these requirements and can prove the time, place, and business purpose of your travel, you can deduct your ordinary and necessary travel expenses.
The following are some types of deductible travel expenses.
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Meals.(p23)


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You ordinarily can deduct only 50% of your business-related meals expenses. You can deduct the cost of your meals while traveling on business only if your business trip is overnight or long enough to require you to stop for sleep or rest to properly perform your duties. You cannot deduct any of the cost of meals if it is not necessary for you to rest, unless you meet the rules for business entertainment. For information on entertainment expenses, see chapter 2 of Publication 463.
The expense of a meal includes amounts you spend for your food, beverages, taxes, and tips relating to the meal. You can deduct either 50% of the actual cost or 50% of a standard meal allowance that covers your daily meal and incidental expenses.
Where Refund
Recordkeeping requirements. You must be able to prove your deductions for travel by adequate records or other evidence that will support your own statement. Estimates or approximations do not qualify as proof of an expense.
You should keep an account book or similar record, supported by adequate documentary evidence, such as receipts, that together support each element of an expense. Generally, it is best to record the expense and get documentation of it at the time you pay it.
If you choose to deduct a standard meal allowance rather than the actual expense, you do not have to keep records to prove amounts spent for meals and incidental items. However, you must still keep records to prove the actual amount of other travel expenses, and the time, place, and business purpose of your travel.
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More information.(p23)


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For detailed information on travel, recordkeeping, and the standard meal allowance, see Publication 463.
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Reimbursements to employees.(p23)


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You generally can deduct reimbursements you pay to your employees for travel and transportation expenses they incur in the conduct of your business. Employees may be reimbursed under an accountable or nonaccountable plan. Under an accountable plan, the employee must provide evidence of expenses. Under a nonaccountable plan, no evidence of expenses is required. If you reimburse expenses under an accountable plan, deduct them as travel and transportation expenses. If you reimburse expenses under a nonaccountable plan, you must report the reimbursements as wages on Form W-2 and deduct them as wages. For more information, see chapter 11 of Publication 535.
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Marketing Quota Penalties(p23)


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Marketing Quota Penalties

You can deduct as Other expenses on Schedule F penalties you pay for marketing crops in excess of farm marketing quotas. However, if you do not pay the penalty, but instead the purchaser of your crop deducts it from the payment to you, include in gross income only the amount you received. Do not take a separate deduction for the penalty.
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Tenant House Expenses(p24)


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Tenant House Expenses

You can deduct the costs of maintaining houses and their furnishings for tenants or hired help as farm business expenses. These costs include repairs, utilities, insurance, and depreciation.
The value of a dwelling you furnish to a tenant under the usual tenant-farmer arrangement is not taxable income to the tenant.
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Items Purchased for Resale(p24)


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If you use the cash method of accounting, you ordinarily deduct the cost of livestock and other items purchased for resale only in the year of sale. You deduct this cost, including freight charges for transporting the livestock to the farm, in Part I of Schedule F. However, see Chickens, seeds, and young plants, below.
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Example.(p24)

You use the cash method of accounting. In 2008, you buy 50 steers you will sell in 2009. You cannot deduct the cost of the steers on your 2008 tax return. You deduct their cost in Part I of your 2009 Schedule F.
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Chickens, seeds, and young plants.(p24)


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If you are a cash method farmer, you can deduct the cost of hens and baby chicks bought for commercial egg production, or for raising and resale, as an expense in Part II of Schedule F in the year paid if you do it consistently and it does not distort income. You also can deduct the cost of seeds and young plants bought for further development and cultivation before sale as an expense in Part II of Schedule F when paid if you do this consistently and you do not figure your income on the crop method. However, see Prepaid Farm Supplies, earlier, for a rule that may limit your deduction for these items.
If you deduct the cost of chickens, seeds, and young plants as an expense, report their entire selling price as income. You cannot also deduct the cost from the selling price.
You cannot deduct the cost of seeds and young plants for Christmas trees and timber as an expense. Deduct the cost of these seeds and plants through depletion allowances. For more information, see Depletion in chapter 7.
The cost of chickens and plants used as food for your family is never deductible.
Capitalize the cost of plants with a preproductive period of more than 2 years, unless you can elect out of the uniform capitalization rules. These rules are discussed in chapter 6.
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Example.(p24)

You use the cash method of accounting. In 2008, you buy 500 baby chicks to raise for resale in 2009. You also buy 50 bushels of winter wheat seed in 2008 that you sow in the fall. Unless you previously adopted the method of deducting these costs in the year you sell the chickens or the harvested crops, you can deduct the cost of both the baby chicks and the seed wheat in 2008.
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Election to use crop method.(p24)
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If you use the crop method, you can delay deducting the cost of seeds and young plants until you sell them. You must get IRS approval to use the crop method. If you follow this method, deduct the cost from the selling price to determine your profit in Part I of Schedule F. For more information, see Crop method under Special Methods of Accounting in chapter 2.
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Choosing a method.(p24)
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You can adopt either the crop method or the cash method for deducting the cost in the first year you buy egg-laying hens, pullets, chicks, or seeds and young plants.
Although you must use the same method for egg-laying hens, pullets, and chicks, you can use a different method for seeds and young plants. Once you use a particular method for any of these items, use it for those items until you get IRS approval to change your method. For more information, see Change in Accounting Method in chapter 2.
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Other Expenses(p24)


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previous topic occurrence Expenses next topic occurrence

The following list, while not all-inclusive, shows some expenses you can deduct as other farm expenses in Part II of Schedule F. These expenses must be for business purposes and (1) paid, if you use the cash method of accounting, or (2) incurred, if you use an accrual method of accounting.
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Loan expenses.(p24)


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You prorate and deduct loan expenses, such as legal fees and commissions, you pay to get a farm loan over the term of the loan.
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Tax preparation fees.(p24)


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You can deduct as a farm business expense on Schedule F the cost of preparing that part of your tax return relating to your farm business. You may be able to deduct the remaining cost on Schedule A (Form 1040) if you itemize your deductions.
You also can deduct on Schedule F the amount you pay or incur in resolving tax issues relating to your farm business.
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