Friday, March 19, 2021

August National Farm Tax and Estate/Business Planning Conference


On August 2-3, in Missoula, Montana, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Washburn Law School will hold the second of two summer 2021 national conferences focusing on farm and ranch income tax and farm and ranch estate/business planning.  This first of the two national conference is in Ohio on June 7-8.  You may read about the details of that event here:    

These are great conferences for attorneys, CPAs and other tax practitioners, agribusiness professionals, farmers, and others interested in learning more about the legal and tax issues associated with income tax planning and management and estate and business planning for those engaged in the trade or business of farming.

The August 2-3 Monana conference – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Day 1 Agenda

On Monday, August 2, our focus will be on farm income tax issues.  Joining me for the day is Paul Neiffer, a Principal (Agribusiness) with CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP.  Paul and I have worked together on the seminar circuit for a number of years and enjoy teaching together to farm tax audiences.  Many of you know of Paul via his Farm CPA Today blog. 

I will begin Day 1 with an update on what’s been happening in the courts and IRS/Treasury that has implications for those engaged in farming.  Paul will then address the lingering issues with the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the varied client situations and questions that arose during the 2020 tax season.  The morning session will then continue with coverage of various miscellaneous topics – NOL rules; like-kind exchanges; amending partnership returns; oil and gas taxation basics.  Paul will then conclude the morning with a discussion of the final I.R.C. §199A regulations. 

After the luncheon, Matthew Bohlmann, the IRS-CI Senior Analyst National Coordinator for the Identity Theft program under Cyber Crimes-Headquarters, will explain how to protect your practice and your clients against cyber threats and tax fraud, and steps that your offices can take to protect client data.  After Matt’s session, Paul and I will address various tax and entity structuring issues relevant to maximizing federal farm program payments for farmers.  Then, I will take a dive into the tax legislation and policy arena to assess what has happened and what might happen in the near future that impacts tax planning. 

Day 2 Agenda

On Tuesday, August 3, we change our focus to the estate and business planning side of things.  2021 is a big year for potential change in this area of the law, with huge implications for farm and ranch clients (and others).  What is going to happen with the level of the estate tax exemption? What about the present interest annual exclusion?  Will corporate tax rates change?  Will the QBID be eliminated?  What’s the IRS doing with the partnership audit rules?  Should a client’s business organizational form be changed?  The answers to all of these questions are up in the air right now.  But each one of them is critically important.

I will begin Day 2 with an overview of caselaw and IRS administrative and regulatory developments.  Following my update session, Dr. Gary Brester, an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ag Econ at Montana St. University will address how farmers and ranchers can maintain competitiveness for success.  What’s the impact and role of technology on production agriculture?  What’s the current status of the U.S. food and fiber sector?  Dr. Brester will address these and other issues during his presentation.  It is always a good idea to be in tune with the economic environment that clients function in.  Doing so helps anticipate legal and tax issues that might arise and provides planning opportunities that otherwise might be missed. 

After the morning break, I will touch on some selected issues with respect to the special use valuation election that can be made on a farmer/rancher’s estate tax return.  This is a very complex provision of the Code, and it may be back in “vogue” again if the federal estate tax exemption is reduced from its current level.  To round out the morning, I will discuss corporate reorganizations.  Of course, this topic is being driven by the possibility of changes in the law that could impact how the farming or ranching operation should be structured.  A major focus will be on divisive reorganizations. 

After the luncheon, Robert Moore, an attorney practicing near Columbus, Ohio will continue the discussion of the use of business entities in farm succession planning.  Mr. Moore has a focus on estate and business planning for farmers in his practice.  He will address several strategies for succession planning and how to keep the family in the farm for subsequent generations. 

Following the afternoon break, Katherine Merck of the Falen Law Offices of Cheyenne, Wyoming, will address property law issues that arise in the process of transitioning the farm/ranch business to the next generation.  Many real estate issues can arise in the business succession process including easements on land; water and grazing rights; and details with respect to legal descriptions, just to name a few. 

The concluding session of Day 2 will be an hour of ethics by Prof. Shawn Leisinger from the law school.  This session will an interactive session with attendees involving ethical issues surrounding clients with end-of-life decisions that need to be made by the client and family members.  This is a very important topic that practitioners often have to deal with and some rather thorny ethical issues must be dealt with.

Online Attendance

If you can’t make the conference in-person, both days will be live simulcast over the web.  You will be able to interact with the speakers by asking questions and hearing responses. 


The conference will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula.  Missoula is located near some of the most beautiful parts of the United States.  Missoula is located between Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and is also near the Bitterroot Mountain Range and Lolo Pass.  There are plenty of sight-seeing and vacation opportunities that can be wrapped around the event. 

Room Block

A room block has been established for the weekend before the conference and through the conference. 


The fee for the conference varies depending on whether you are claiming continuing education credit.  If not, the registration rate is lower.  We welcome farmers, ranchers and others that don’t need continuing education credit to attend along with those that will be claiming professional education credit.

Additional Sponsors

As of today, we are thankful for the sponsorship of the First State Bank of Nebraska; the Falen Law Offices of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Agrilegacy and Base.  You may learn more about the sponsors here:

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact me.  It’s a great way to market your business.

More Information

You can learn more about the August conference and register here:


I hope to see you at one of the conferences this summer or, if not, I hope that you are able to attend online.  This content and discussion will be valuable to your practice and/or farming or ranching operation.

Business Planning, Estate Planning, Income Tax | Permalink