Friday, February 14, 2020

Summer 2020 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conference


Washburn University School of  Law in conjunction with the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University is sponsoring a farm income tax and farm estate/business planning seminar in Deadwood, South Dakota on July 20 and 21.  This is a premier event for practitioners with an agricultural clientele base, agribusiness professionals, farmers and ranchers, rural landowners and others with an interest in tax and planning issues affecting farm and ranch families.

For today’s post I detail the agenda for the event. 

Monday July 20

The first day of the conference begins with my annual update of developments in farm income tax from the courts and the IRS.  I will address the big ag tax issues over the past year.  That session will be followed up with a session on GAAP accounting and the changes that will affect farmer’s financial statements.  Topics that Paul Neiffer of CliftonLarsonAllen discuss will include revenue recognition and lease accounting changes.

After the morning break, I will examine several farm tax topics that are of current high importance – tax issues associated with restructuring credit lines; deducting bad debts; forgiving installment sale debt; and selected passive loss issues.  Paul will follow up my session with an hour of I.R.C. §199A advanced planning that can maximize the qualified business income deduction for clients. 

After the luncheon, U.S. Tax Court Judge Elizabeth Paris will speak for 90 minutes on practicing before the U.S. Tax Court.  She will present information all attorneys and CPAs need to consider if they are interested in representing clients in the U.S. Tax Court.  She will cover topics including the successful satisfaction of Tax Court notice pleading requirements; multiple exclusive jurisdictions of the Tax Court; troubleshooting potential conflicts and innocent spouse issues; utilizing S-Case procedures to a client’s advantage;  and available Tax Court website resources.

I will follow the afternoon break with a discussion of issues associated with net operating losses and excess business losses.  I will take a look at how the late 2017 tax legislation changed the rules for net operating losses and excess business losses – how the modified rules work; carrybacks and carryforwards; limitations; relevant guidance; business and non-business income; and entity sales. After my session, Paul will be back to discuss Farm Service Agency Advanced Planning and how to maximize a farm client’s receipt of ag program payments without sacrificing them at the altar of self-employment tax savings. 

For the final session of the day I will discuss  I will discuss real estate trades when I.R.C. §1245 property (such as grain bins and hog confinement buildings and other structures) is involved in the exchange. address the rules to know, how to identify and avoid the traps and the necessary forms to be filed   

Tuesday July 21

I will begin the second day of the conference by providing an update of key developments in the courts and the IRS over the past year that impact estate, business and succession planning for farmers and ranchers.  It will be a fast-paced survey of cases and rulings that practitioners must be aware of when planning farm and ranch estates and succession plans.  My opening session will be followed by a an hour session on how to incorporate a gun trust into an estate plan.  Prof. Jeff Jackson of Washburn Law School will lead the discussion and explore the basic operation of a gun trust to hold firearms and the mechanics of such a trust’s operation.  Jeff will discuss the reasons to create a gun trust; their effectiveness as an estate planning tool to hold firearms; common myths and understandings about what a gun trust can do; special rules associated with gun trusts; and client counseling issues associated with gun trusts.

After the morning break, Brandon Ruopp, a private practitioner from Marshalltown, Iowa, will provide a comprehensive review of the rules concerning contributions, rollovers, and required minimum distributions for IRA's and qualified retirement plans following the passage of the SECURE Act in late 2019.  I will follow Brandon’s session with a brief session on the common estate planning mistakes that farm and ranch families make that can be easily avoided if they are spotted soon enough.  With the many technical rules that govern estate and business planning, sometimes the “little things” loom large.  This session addresses these common issues that must be addressed with clients.

After the luncheon, I will provide a brief session on the post-death management of the family farm or ranch business.  I will discuss the issues that must be dealt with after the death of family member of the family business.  This session will also examine probate administration issues that commonly arise with respect to a farm or ranch estate, including the application of Farm Service Agency rules and requirements.  Also addressed will be distributional and tax issues; issues associated with partitioning property; handling marital property and disclaimers; potential CERCLA liability; and issues associated with estate tax audits.

Next up will be Marc Vianello, a CPA in the Kansas City area who is well-renown in the area of valuation discounting.  Marc’s session will provide a summary of Marc’s research into the market evidence of discounts for lack of marketability.  The presentation will challenge broadly used methodologies for determining discounts for lack of marketability, and illustrate why such discounts should be supported by probability-based option modeling. 

Following the afternoon break, I will discuss the valuation of farm chattels and marketing rights and the basic guidelines for determining the estate tax value of this type of farm property. 

The final session of the day will be devoted to ethics.  Prof. Shawn Leisinger at Washburn Law School will present an interesting session on ethical issues related to risk in a legal context and how to understand and advise clients.  Shawn’s presentation will look at how different people, and different attorneys, approach risk taking through a live exercise and application of academic risk approaches to the outcomes.  Then, the discussion looks at how an attorney can get competent and ethically advise clients concerning risk decisions in practice.  Participants will be challenged to contemplate how their personal approach to risk may impact, or fail to impact, client decisions and choices.

Law School Alumni Reception and CLE

On Sunday evening, July 19, Washburn Law School, in conjunction with the conference will be holding a law school alumni function.  Conference attendees are welcome to attend the reception.  On Monday, July 20, a separate CLE event will be held for law school alumni at the same venue of the conference.  Details on the alumni reception and the CLE topics will be forthcoming.


Registration for the conference will be available soon.  Be watching my website – for details as well as this blog.  The conference will be held at the Lodge at Deadwood.  A room block has been established for the weekend before the conference and for at least a day after the conference ends.


I hope to see you at Deadwood in July.  If you’re looking for high quality CPE/CLE for farm and ranch clients, this conference will be worth your time.

Business Planning, Estate Planning, Income Tax | Permalink


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