Sunday, March 24, 2024

Bad Survey and Bad Name on Filed Financing Statement – Legal Issues Created

Overview

The legal system interacts with farmers, ranchers and rural landowners in numerous ways.  With today’s post, I take a look at a few of those. 

Court Sorts Out Damages Triggered by Erroneous Survey. 

Simmons v. Ryder, No. 364826

2024 Mich. App. LEXIS 1181 (Mich. Ct. App. Feb. 15, 2024)

Note:  What problems can occur if a survey is erroneous?  In this case the defendant acted based on his survey which turned out to be erroneous.  Read what happened.  What wasn’t part of the case is the liability of the surveyor business that made the erroneous survey.  The court’s opinion also provides guidance on how court’s determine damages in such cases.

The plaintiffs owned a residential tract adjacent to the defendant’s farmland.  The defendant’s survey denoted the boundary between the properties as being 31 feet onto what the plaintiff claimed was the boundary.  Based on the survey, the defendant cleared trees, shrubs and topsoil in the disputed area.

The plaintiffs sued for trespass and injury to their land and sought damages to restore the property.  The trial court awarded the plaintiff $1,995 of damages, the cost of replanting 21 arrowwood viburnum trees. The trial court also ordered than another survey be completed with the cost split between the parties. The trial court allowed the defendant to complete remedial excavation work, and also ruled that the plaintiffs were not entitled to damages for the installation of a fence.

The appellate court affirmed, concluding that the plaintiffs failed to provide evidence regarding the loss in their land value and their claimed amount of restorative costs.  In any event, the appellate court held that the damages awarded should not exceed the value of the property before the damage occurred.  The appellate court also upheld the trial court’s decision ordering the defendant to perform remediation work on the plaintiffs’ property.  The appellate court also upheld the trial court’s decision that the parties split the cost of the second survey which established that the initial survey was erroneous, and both parties were innocent with respect to the first survey.  It was the erroneous first survey that required the remedial work. 

Change in Name of Debtor Makes a UCC “Seriously Misleading”

In re Rancher’s Legacy Meat Co., 616 B.R. 532 (Bankr. D. Minn. 2020)

Note: The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) has many intricate rules that must be followed closely.  Article 9 of the UCC governs financial transactions.  One rule requires that the debtor’s name on a filed financial statement must not be “seriously misleading.”  The rule is there to ensure that a party checking the public record will be assured of finding a filed financial statement when using the debtor’s correct legal name.  There are many cases on this issue and the case below is one of them. 

The debtor, a meat packing and processing company, was founded by two individuals, one of which was the creditor, operating under the name of Unger Meat Company (UMC). The creditor leased a building to the debtor for use as a processing plant and provided startup funds via two promissory notes. The creditor perfected a security interest in all the debtor’s equipment, inventory, and accounts receivable. UMC failed to show a profit and the creditor entered into an option agreement with a holding company to purchase UMC. Upon finalization of the sale, the holding company purchased the creditor’s shares in UMC and changed the name of the company to Rancher’s Legacy Meat Company.

Fourteen months after the name change, the creditor filed a UCC-3 Continuation Statement and listed the company’s name as UMC. After another three years had passed, the creditor filed an amended UCC-3 to change the debtor’s name to “Rancher’s Legacy.” The creditor sought collection on its notes and a few months later the debtor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The debtor argued that the appropriate procedure to re-perfect the creditor’s security interest was to file a new UCC-1 Financing Statement upon the debtor’s name change. The creditor argued that his filings appropriately re-perfected his security interest and therefore, he should be entitled to adequate protection payments. The bankruptcy court noted that Minnesota law provides that a financing statement becomes seriously misleading and ineffective when it fails to provide the debtor’s correct name. Additionally, when the financing statement is ineffective because of seriously misleading information, an amendment must be made within four months to perfect a security interest. The bankruptcy court held that the creditor’s security interest lapsed when four months had passed after the creditor’s financing statement became seriously misleading. Further, the bankruptcy court held that the creditor had the ability to re-perfect the security interest by filing a new UCC-1 Financing Statement. Although the security interest had lapsed, the language of the parties’ security agreement provided the creditor with the opportunity to file a second financing statement.

The creditor argued that his multiple filings were sufficient to giver proper notice to any other creditors under the UCC. The bankruptcy court disagreed and held that multiple filings can occasionally give proper notice, but not when the notice had become seriously misleading as in this case. The bankruptcy court pointed out that the validity of the financing statement depends primarily on its ability to give notice of the security interest to other creditors. Further, the bankruptcy court noted that the creditor’s argument for multiple filings failed because the original financing statement had lapsed four months after it became seriously misleading.  A continuation statement cannot revive a lapsed financing statement.  While the creditor argued that the subsequent filings of the continuation statements should have been enough to re-perfect the security interest, the bankruptcy court disagreed, pointing out that the UCC specifically provided that a continuation statement cannot substitute for a financing statement. As a result, the bankruptcy court declared that the creditor became an unsecured creditor at the time the security interests became unperfected. Because the creditor failed to re-perfect the security interest before the debtor filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the debtor was not required to provide the creditor with adequate protection payments.

Conclusion

Bad survey and incorrect debtor’s name on a financing statement - carelessness led to legal issues.  These are “foot faults” that can (and should) be avoided.

March 24, 2024 in Bankruptcy, Civil Liabilities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

For Chapter 12 Bankruptcy Purposes, what is “Gross Income from Farming”?

Overview

One of the eligibility requirements for Chapter 12 bankruptcy is that more than 50 percent of an individual debtor’s gross income must come from farming in either the year before filing or in both the second and third tax years preceding filing. 11 U.S.C. §1325(b).   This provision seeks to disqualify tax shelter and recreational farms from Chapter 12 protection. 

A recent case from New York involved the question of whether income from horse breeding and training counts as “farm income” for purposes of Chapter 12.

What is “gross income from farming” for purposes of Chapter 12 (farm) bankruptcy – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Chapter 12 and Farm Income

The farm income test is to be applied at the time of bankruptcy filing. See, e.g., In re Nelson, 291 B.R. 861 (Bankr. D. Idaho 2003).  Gross income from farming has been held to include government program payments, proceeds of the sale of farm equipment, and income from rental of farm equipment where the lessor has some risk in the farm operation. See, e.g., In re Wilson, No. 05-65161, 2007 Bankr. LEXIS 359 (Bankr. D. Mont. Feb. 7, 2007).  However, income from the sale of farmland and income from custom farming, even if performed for the debtor's farm operation, is not included in gross income from farming. See, e.g., In re Ross, 270 B.R. 710 (Bankr. S.D. Ill. 2001). However, income from the sale of farmland may be included in gross income from farming if it is sufficiently connected to the farming activities, such as being sold to allow the debtor to continue farming.  See, e.g., In re Bircher, 241 B.R. 11 (Bankr. S.D. Iowa 1999).

Although income from cash leasing of farmland is not included in gross income from farming, a corporate farm debtor has been allowed to file in Chapter 12 even though a majority of the farmland would be cash leased. Generally, cash rent income is not income from a farming operation that counts toward the 50 percent test. See, e.g., In re Swanson, 289 B.R. 372 (Bankr. D. Ill. 2003). The basic test is whether the lessor is subject to the risks from farming under the lease.

For example, in In re Maynard, 295 B.R. 437 (Bankr. S.D. N.Y. 2003), the debtor operated a farm as an S corporation which leased the land from the debtor.  The debtor’s pre-petition farm income consisted entirely of the rent from the corporation.  The rents were held to be income from farming to the debtor because no rent was paid if the corporation lacked income, the debtor was actively involved in the farming operation, the rent came from farming operations, and the debtor continued to farm the property after bankruptcy. However, in a 1990 bankruptcy case from Iowa, In re Easton, 118 B.R. 676 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa 1990), an individual farm debtor was allowed to file a Chapter 12 bankruptcy where farmland was cash leased to the debtor’s son and the court found that the lease was part of the total family farm operation. 

Note:  Income from crop-share leases is generally considered to be gross income from farming unless the lessor has no participation in the operation of the farm.

What About Horse Boarding and Training?

As noted above, the basic test in determining whether income is sufficiently tied to a farming operation to constitute gross income from farming is whether the debtor’s income is subject to the risks of farming such as production and price risk.  That’s an important question when it comes to horse boarding and training.  The primary issue is whether the debtors income is derived from services or from farming/ranching activities. 

There are analogies with other similar activities.  Consider the following:

  • While the breeding of dogs has been held to constitute farming for purposes of Chapter 12 eligibility, the activity must be engaged in at the time the debtor files bankruptcy. Any post-petition change in the debtor’s business is immaterial.  See, e.g., In re Degutis, No. 20-11420-MSH, 2020 Bankr. LEXIS 3578 ((Bankr. D. Mass. Dec. 23, 2020).  
  • A cattle rancher’s income from hauling cattle for third parties was farm income where the hauling was found to be related to the debtor’s own operations, and, in another case, the income from the debtors' timber operation was farm income where the debtors sold their own timber, lived in a traditional farm setting, had traditional farm equipment, and were subject to the same risks inherent in an ordinary farming business. In re Glenn, 181 B.R. 105 (Bankr. E.D. Okla. 1995).

With respect to horse boarding and training, the general rule is that boarding and training of horses owned by others does not generate gross income from farming.  For example, in one case the debtor operated a business of boarding and training horses owned by others and for a flat fee.  The court held that the debtor was not engaged in farming and was ineligible for Chapter 12 relief because the debtor only provided services and income derived from fixed fees that were only indirectly tied to inherent risks of farming.  See, e.g., In re Jones, No. 10-65478-FRA12, 2011 Bankr. LEXIS 2982 (Bankr. D. Ore. Aug. 2, 2011).  But sometimes courts distinguish between breeding and raising horses from training and showing.  In In re Buchanan, No. 2:05-0114, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50968 (M.D. Tenn. July 25, 2006), the court held that the debtor’s failure to file Schedule F associated with the debtors’ horse breeding operation did not negate other factors showing that debtors were engaged in a traditional farming operation.

Recent case.  In In re Leonaggeo, No. 23-35092 (CGM), 2023 Bankr. LEXIS 1355 (S.D. N.Y. May 24, 2023), The debtor filed a Chapter 12 case in early 2023 as a repeat filer.  The debtor’s previous case was dismissed for lack of regular income (the debtor’s income was only seasonal).  In the present case (which was filed to forestall foreclosure proceedings), two creditors motioned to either dismiss the case or have the automatic stay lifted on the basis that the debtor didn’t qualify for Chapter 12 for lack of having sufficient farm income.  The debtor’s income is derived from horse boarding, training, and rider instruction that the debtor and her husband had conducted for 50 years.  The debtor claimed the operation was subject to the same inherent risks and cyclical uncertainties that are associated with farming operations. 

The court noted a split of authority on whether horse breeding, boarding and training businesses were eligible for Chapter 12.  Some courts have determined that such activities are service-oriented business ineligible for Chapter 12.  See, e.g., In re Cluck, 101 B.R. 691 (Bankr. E.D. Okla. 1989); In re McKillips, 72 B.R. 565 (Bankr. N.D. Ill. 1987).  But, other courts have ruled otherwise where the debtors were also involved in the growing of feed and the raising of the horses to maturity for later sale as livestock.  See, e.g., In re Buchanan, No. 05-114, 2006 U.S. Dist. Tenn. Jul. 25, 2006).  In the present case, however, the court determined that the debtor was primarily providing a service.  Key to that determination was that the debtor did not raise crops or raise the horses to maturity to sell as livestock.  Thus, the Chapter 12 case was dismissed. 

Additionally, the court did not allow the debtor to convert the Chapter 12 case to Chapter 11, but the court determined that such a conversion was not allowed under 11 U.S.C. §1208, citing the legislative history of the provision did not suggest that the Congress intended to allow a Chapter 12 case to be converted to anything other than a Chapter 7 case.

Conclusion

The definition of “gross income from farming” is an important one in the context of Chapter 12 bankruptcy.  To meet the definition, the debtor’s income must be from a farming activity where the debtor is bearing the risks of production or the risks of price change.  Income from a service activity doesn’t meet the test.

March 12, 2024 in Bankruptcy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 4, 2024

Farm Bankruptcy; Sovereign Immunity; Farm Lease and Pipeline Damages

Introduction

Farmers and ranchers face numerous legal issues on a regular basis.  The variety is vast from contract issues to income tax, estate and business planning, to real estate-related issues.  Other issues come up with water, criminal matters, and environmental law.  Then there are frequent issues with federal and state administrative agencies. 

With today’s article I look at some recent cases that illustrate issues with farm bankruptcy, sovereign immunity, farm lease law and damages from an alleged leaking pipeline.

A potpourri of legal issues facing farmers and ranchers – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Farm Bankruptcy

This first case from Kansas demonstrates that a Chapter 12 bankruptcy debtor must have a legitimate basis for seeking a modification of the Chapter 12 reorganization plan.  A mere hope in getting financing is not a change in circumstances that would justify reimposing the automatic stay (stopping creditors from acting).  The farm debtor must be able to put a feasible plan together for paying debts.  Here, the plan had been approved, but then the farm debtor couldn’t make the payments. 

Debtors Lacked Reasonable Likelihood of Putting Re-Tooled Chapter 12 Plan Together

In re Sis, No. 21-10123, 2024 Bankr. LEXIS 124 (Bankr. D. Kan. Jan. 18, 2024)

The debtors Chapter 12 plan was confirmed in early 2022, but the debtors soon had trouble making plan payments. They managed to make an annual payment to a creditor (bank) but failed to do so the next year.  The Chapter 12 trustee filed a motion to dismiss the case in late 2023, and another creditor filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay.   The debtors sought to re-impose the automatic stay to get more time to modify their Chapter 12 plan and make payments to a creditor to avoid the bank foreclosing on their farm.    The bankruptcy court denied the debtors’ motion.  The court noted the debtors’ genuine efforts to secure financing and sell assets but determined that the debtors had little likelihood of success in modifying their reorganization plan in a manner allowing them to make plan payments.  The court also determined that the debtors had not endured a substantial change in circumstances to support modifying their Chapter 12 plan.  The debtors merely had a hope of obtaining financing was not a change in circumstances.  As a result, the court denied the debtors’ motion for a temporary restraining order because the debtors had not shown a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits or any extraordinary circumstances that would justify reimposition of the automatic stay. In late 2023, the court dismissed the debtors’ Chapter 12 case.  Therefore, the court the court directed the debtors to either voluntarily dismiss the adversary proceeding or provide reasons why it should not be dismissed.  The court noted that failure to file a voluntary dismissal or a statement showing cause, within fourteen days of the court’s order in this case would result in the court dismissal of the case. 

Suing the Government – Sovereign Immunity

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court noted the exception to the general rule that the federal government can’t be sued for damages. 

Fair Credit Reporting Act Waives Sovereign Immunity 

United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development Housing Service v. Kirtz, No. 22-

846, 2024 U.S. LEXIS 589 (U.S. Feb. 8, 2024)

 The defendant received a loan from the plaintiff, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which was repaid in full by mid-2018.  However, the USDA repeatedly informed a consumer credit reporting company that the defendant’s account was past due.  As a result, thedefendant’s credit score was damaged and his ability to secure future loans at affordable rates was threatened.  The defendant notified the company of the error and the company, in turn, notified the USDA.  However, the USDA did not correct its records and the defendant sued for either a negligent or willful violation on the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  The USDA moved to dismiss the case based on sovereign immunity.  The trial court dismissed the case, the appellate court reversed on the basis that the Congress had amended the FCRA to authorize suits for damages against “any person” who violates the FCRA and that “person” includes any governmental agency.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear the case to clear up contrary conclusions reached by the Third, Seventh and D.C. Circuits (holding that the FCRA authorizes suits against government agencies) and the Fourth and Ninth Circuits (holding that the FCRA bars consumer suits against federal agencies). 

The Supreme Court noted that a U.S. is generally immune from suits seeking money damages unless the Congress waived that immunity by making a clear legislative statement.  Here, the Court unanimously determined that the FCRA clearly waived sovereign immunity by applying its provisions to persons who furnish information to consumer reporting agencies, and that no separate provision addressing sovereign immunity was required.  The Court also noted that its holding would not make the States susceptible to consumer suits for money damages because the FCRA was enacted pursuant to the Commerce Clause and, as such, does not give the Congress the power to abrogate state sovereign immunity.  

Farm Lease Law

The law governing farm leases differs from state-to-state.  The following case from Kansas makes a couple of points.  First, if the lease is in writing, the written terms control.  Second, when leased land is sold, the buyer takes the land subject to the existing lease.  Those are two key points that will apply in every state. 

Interpretation of Farm Lease at Issue

Cure Land, LLC v. Ihrig, No. 125,709, 2023 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 479 (Kan. Ct. App. Dec. 1, 2023)

The parties entered into a cash farm lease for the calendar year 2020.  The lease specified that the defendant (tenant) was allowed to harvest any wheat crop planted in the fall of 2020 (or in the fall thereafter if the lease was renewed) by the following summer.  The lease also stated that the crops planted during the term of the lease was to be planted on a rotational basis rather than in a continuous crop fashion unless adequate moisture was present, and the landlord consented.  The lease also stated that continuous cropping was normal on the irrigated ground.  The lease renewed for 2021 and notice to terminate was given on August 27, 2021.  The ownership of the leased ground then changed hands, and the tenant notified the new landlord of the tenant’s intent to plant wheat on the irrigated ground and harvest it in 2022.  The prior owned informed the defendant that planting wheat was not permitted in the fall of 2021, as did the new owner a few days later.  In October of 2021, the defendant harvested corn from the irrigated ground while it was still “high moisture corn,” a practice the tenant had not previously engaged in and planted wheat the next day.  The defendant paid the 2021 lease obligation through the end of 2021 and paid the balance on June 22, 2022.  The plaintiff (the new landlord) sued for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.  The trial court ruled in favor of the new landlord, finding that the lease did not permit the defendant to plant fall 2021 wheat. The trial court interpreted the lease provisions, considering the distinction between wheat ground and irrigated ground, and concluded that the defendant’s interpretation would result in an unintended windfall. Additionally, the court found that the purchaser of the leased land had the right to enforce its terms.  The appellate court affirmed. 

The Proof and Computation of Property Damage

When you incur damage to your property being able to prove those damages and the amount of the loss is critical.  A recent case involving a pipeline under an Oklahoma ranch illustrates these principles.

Cattle Ranch’s Lawsuit Against Energy Company for Pipeline Leak Revived

Lazy S Ranch Properties, LLC v. Valero Terminaling & Distribution Co., No. 23-7001, 2024 U.S. App. LEXIS 3397 (10th Cir. Feb. 13, 2024)

The plaintiff, an Oklahoma cattle ranch noticed a diesel fuel odor coming from a cave.  The ranch hired experts to test the soil, surface water and groundwater for possible hydrocarbon contamination.  The tests found trace amounts of refined petroleum products.  The plaintiff sued the defendant energy company in late 2019 alleging claims of negligence, negligence per se, trespass, unjust enrichment, private nuisance and public nuisance.  The defendant moved for summary judgment on the basis that its pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel fuel beneath the ranch was not leaking and that the plaintiff failed to show any injury from the de minimis presence of hydrocarbons. 

The trial court analyzed the plaintiff’s various tort claims together which required a minimum level of contamination to be present so as to establish injury for each claim.  Ultimately, the trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant.  On appeal, the appellate court held that the trial court’s combining of the plaintiff’s tort claims under legal injury confused the analysis because “what constitutes a legal injury will be different based on the elements of each tort.”  On the two nuisance-based claims, the appellate court noted the plaintiff owners’ testimony that they discontinued their use of the land, in part, due to an odor that induced headaches, stopped water sales, and barred others from recreational activities on the ranch.  The appellate court viewed this as sufficient evidence to warrant trial on whether the defendant had committed a nuisance.  On the negligence issue, the appellate court determined that the plaintiff had presented sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact concerning legal injury and causation on the private and public nuisance as well as the negligence per se claim.  However, the appellate court affirmed the trial court on the plaintiff’s constructive fraud and trespass claims citing a lack of evidence that the defendant had any intent to commit a trespass or knew that its pipeline was leaking or overlooked the leak or failed to tell the plaintiff about a leak in the pipeline. 

March 4, 2024 in Bankruptcy, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Real Property | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Recent Happening in Ag Law and the Courts

Overview

The field of agricultural law is broad and dynamic.  There is always something happening.  That’s a function of the many varied ways that the law intersects with land ownership, land use, economics and the production of food and fiber.  Below is my commentary on a few recent cases involving farmers and ranchers – farm bankruptcy; veterinarian’s lien; confined animal feeding operations and an injury sustained while assisting a downed heifer.

Some recent court cases involving ag – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Chapter 12 Plan Could Be Modified – Substantial Change in Circumstances Must be Shown

In re Swackhammer, 650 B.R. 914 (Bankr. S.D. Iowa 2023)

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is exclusively for family farmers.  A creature of the farm crisis of the 1980s, it became a permanent part of the bankruptcy code in 2005.  A key feature is the ability to restructure debt and put together a reorganization plan that allows the farm debtor to pay off creditors over time.  But a significant question is whether that reorganization plan can be modified and, if so, how many times it can be modified.  A recent case shed some light on those questions. 

In Swackhammer, the debtors filed Chapter 12 bankruptcy in 2018, and a second modified plan was confirmed in 2019.  In 2020, the debtors move to modify their confirmed plan to extend the time to make payments to secured creditors based on changed circumstances such as weather, equipment failure, employee illness or losses due to delayed financing.  Each time the creditors objected, but each time the court allowed the modification.  In 2022, the debtors motioned to approve a third modified plan to extend the deadline for payments to creditors because of unforeseen revenue loss from the 2021 crops.  The debtors, for the first time, claimed that nothing in 11 U.S.C. §1229 required them to prove changed circumstances.  The creditors objected, claiming that the court had plenty of evidence that none of the debtors’ plans were feasible.  The creditors also asserted that the debtors had to prove that their revenue loss was due to a substantial and unanticipated change in circumstances.  The creditors motioned to dismiss the debtors’ Chapter 12 case. 

The bankruptcy court directed the parties to discuss whether they could agree to the terms of a fourth modified plan.  Ultimately, a fourth modified plan was approved with the bankruptcy court noting that this would be the last modification allowed.  A secured creditor appealed on the basis that 11 U.S.C. §1229 required a debtor to show “unanticipated, substantial change in circumstances” before confirming a proposed modified plan.  The appellate court noted that the circuit courts of appeal were split on the issue and that it had not yet addressed the issue.  The appellate court held that 11 U.S.C. §1229(a) requires a showing, at a minimum of a “substantial change in circumstances” but that it didn’t need to take a position on the issue in the case because the evidence illustrated that the debtors had met the burden.  Accordingly, the bankruptcy court had not erred in allowing the fourth modification because, in any event, the evidence showed an unanticipated substantial change in circumstances. 

Veterinarian’s Lien Fails for Lack of Proof. 

In re Kern, No. 22-40437-12, 2023 Bankr. LEXIS 1392 (Bankr. D. Kan. May 26, 2023)

Every state has numerous statutory liens that, when properly “perfected” can beat out a prior perfected secured lien.  Common ones include a mechanic’s lien, an agister’s lien, and a landlord’s lien.  Some states, including Kansas, also have a statutory veterinarian’s lien.  That lien was at issue in a recent case.

In In re Kern, the debtor had pastured cattle for third parties until February of 2022.  During that time, a veterinarian provided medications and veterinary care for the cattle.  After shipping the cattle at the direction of the owner, the third party’s check was dishonored, and the debtor couldn’t pay the veterinary bill.  Ultimately, the veterinarian came into possession of some of the debtor’s cattle and the veterinarian cared for the cattle for slightly over two months.  It was unclear and disputed how the veterinarian came into possession of the cattle.  The veterinarian filed a veterinary lien under Kan. Stat. Ann. §47-836 with the local county Register of Deeds and a copy of the lien from mailed to the debtor and printed in the local newspaper.  The debtor’s primary lender then intervened, claiming a first-priority lien on the cattle.  The county Sheriff sold the cattle for $18,714.83.  That amount was deposited with the county court. 

The veterinarian then sought payment pursuant to the lien, and the primary lender objected.  The debtor then filed Chapter 12 bankruptcy.  The parties stipulated that the primary lender held a valid perfected lien in the cattle and cattle proceeds, that could be beat out by a valid veterinarian’s lien.  The debtor claimed that he didn’t request veterinary services for the cattle, but that the cattle owner must have.  Ultimately, the court concluded that the veterinarian could only establish that someone with lawful possession of the cattle delivered them to him for veterinary services, but that it couldn’t be established that it was the debtor.  Thus, the veterinarian couldn’t establish it was the debtor that requested his services and the veterinarian failed to meet his burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence and the veterinarian’s lien was invalid. 

Court Vacates Medium-Sized CAFO Rule

Dakota Rural Action v. United States Department of Agriculture, No. 18-2852 (CKK), 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 58678 (D. D.C. Apr. 4, 2023)

The plaintiff, a non-profit organization that was initially formed during the farm debt crisis of the 1980s to provide various forms of assistance to smaller-sized family farming operations, acting on behalf of various farm and animal rights groups, challenged a rule promulgated by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in 2016.  That rule exempted medium-sized confined animal farming operations (CAFOs) from environmental review for FSA loans.  A medium-sized CAFO can house up to 700 dairy cows, 2,500 55-pound hogs or up to 125,000 chickens.  The plaintiff challenged the rule as being implemented without complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) [42 U.S.C. §4332(2)(C)] which requires all federal agencies to undertake a certain degree of environmental review before effecting an agency decision or policy.  In addition, the NEPA specifies that “an agency will inform the public that it has indeed considered environmental concerns in its decision-making process.”  Alternative, an agency can provide an environmental impact statement (EIS).  An EIS requires agency review before any action is taken that will “significantly affect the quality of the human environment.”  Another alternative is for an agency to prepare an “environmental assessment” (EA) when environmental impact is not clearly established, an EIS is not necessary and there will not be any significant environmental impact.  But, no analysis need be made public is the agency determines that its proposed action will not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment.  The FSA concluded that it didn’t need to do any environmental analysis before making loans to medium-sized CAFOs, categorically exempting them from NEPA review.  The court disagreed and vacated the rule.  The court noted that FSA had provided no rationale for the exemption or the data upon which it relied except a 2013 discussion of a proposed categorical exemption.  FSA conceded that it made no finding as to environmental impact.  The court determined that to be fatal, along with providing no notice that it was going to categorically exempt all loan actions to medium-sized CAFOs.  Thus, the rule was procedurally defective.  The court vacated the rule and remanded to the FSA. 

Domesticated Animal Activity Act Doesn’t Provide Immunity for Feedlot Operator

Vreeman v. Jansma, No. 22-1365, 2023 Iowa App. LEXIS 492 (Iowa Ct. App. Jun. 21, 2023)

The defendant operated a feedlot and discovered a downed heifer in an area where he couldn’t get tractor or equipment to assist the heifer in getting up.  He called the plaintiff to come and help him with the task, something the plaintiff has assisted with in the past.  While trying to get the heifer to her feet, the plaintiff’s leg was severely injured.  The plaintiff sued for negligence and the defendant motioned for summary judgment, citing the Iowa Domesticated Animal Activity Act (Iowa Code Ch. 673) (Act) as providing him with immunity from suit.  The Act states that “A person, including a domesticated animal professional, domesticated animal activity sponsor, the owner of the domesticated animal, or a person exhibiting the domesticated animal, is not liable for the damages, injury or death suffered by a participant or spectator resulting from the inherent risks of a domesticated animal activity.”  The plaintiff asserted that the Act was inapplicable because standing up a downed heifer is not a “domesticated animal activity.”  The trial court granted summary judgment to the defendant and the plaintiff appealed.  The appellate court reversed, noting that the statute provided a specific list of definitions for “domesticated animal activity” and that standing up a downed heifer was not in the list. 

Conclusion

There’s never a dull moment in agricultural law and taxation.  Stay tuned for more developments in future posts.

July 12, 2023 in Bankruptcy, Civil Liabilities, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 8, 2023

Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, Conference – Twin Track

Overview

On August 7-8 in beautiful Coeur d’ Alene, ID, Washburn Law School the second of its two summer conferences on farm income taxation as well as farm and ranch estate and business planning.  A bonus for the ID conference will be a two-day conference focusing on various ag legal topics.    The University of Idaho College of Law and College of Agricultural and Life Sciences along with the Idaho State Bar and the ag law section of the Idaho State Bar are co-sponsoring.  This conference represents the continuing effort of Washburn Law School in providing practical and detailed CLE to rural lawyers, CPAs and other tax professionals as well as getting law students into the underserved rural areas of the Great Plains and the West.  The conference can be attended online in addition to the conference location in Coeur d’ Alene at the North Idaho College. 

More information on the August Idaho Conference and some topics in ag law – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Idaho Conference

Over two days in adjoining conference rooms the focus will be on providing continuing education for tax professionals and lawyers that represent agricultural clients.  All sessions are focused on practice-relevant topic.  One of the two-day tracks will focus on agricultural taxation on Day 1 and farm/ranch estate and business planning on Day 2.  The other track will be two-days of various agricultural legal issues. 

Here's a bullet-point breakdown of the topics:

Tax Track (Day 1)

  • Caselaw and IRS Update
  • What is “Farm Income” for Farm Program Purposes?
  • Inventory Method – Options for Farmers
  • Machinery Trades
  • Easement and Rental Issues for Landowners
  • Protecting a Tax Practice From Scammers
  • Amending Partnership Returns
  • Corporate Provided Meals and Lodging
  • CRATs
  • IC-DISCS
  • When Cash Method Isn’t Available
  • Accounting for Hedging Transactions
  • Deducting a Purchased Growing Crop
  • Deducting Soil Fertility

Tax Track (Day 2)

  • Estate and Gift Tax Current Developments
  • Succession Plans that Work (and Some That Don’t)
  • The Use of SLATs in Estate Planning
  • Form 1041 and Distribution Deductions
  • Social Security as an Investment
  • Screening New Clients
  • Ethics for Estate Planners

Ag Law Track (Day 1)

  • Current Developments and Issues
  • Current Ag Economic Trends
  • Handling Adverse Decisions on Federal Grazing Allotments
  • Getting and Retaining Young Lawyers in Rural Areas
  • Private Property Rights and the Clean Water Act – the Aftermath of the Sackett Decision
  • Ethics

Ag Law Track (Day 2)

  • Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land
  • Immigrant Labor in Ag
  • Animal Welfare and the Legal System
  • How/Why Farmers and Ranchers Use and Need Ag Lawyers and Tax Pros
  • Agricultural Leases

Both tracks will be running simultaneously, and both will be broadcast live online.  Also, you can register for either track.  There’s also a reception on the evening of the first day on August 7.  The reception is sponsored by the University of Idaho College of Law and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Idaho, as well as the Agricultural Law Section of the Idaho State Bar.

Speakers

The speakers for the tax and estate/business planning track are as follows: 

Day 1:  Roger McEowen, Paul Neiffer and a representative from the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.

Day 2:  Roger McEowen; Paul Neiffer; Allan Bosch; and Jonas Hemenway.

The speakers for the ag law track are as follows:

Day 1:  Roger McEowen; Cody Hendrix; Hayden Ballard; Damien Schiff; aand Joseph Pirtle.

Day 2:  Roger McEowen; Joel Anderson; Kristi Running; Aaron Golladay; Richard Seamon; and Kelly Stevenson

Who Should Attend

Anyone that represents farmers and ranchers in tax planning and preparation, financial planning, legal services and/or agribusiness would find the conference well worth the time.  Students attend at a much-reduced fee and should contact me personally or, if you are from Idaho, contract Prof. Rich Seamon (also one of the speakers) at the University of Idaho College of Law.  The networking at the conference will be a big benefit to students in connecting with practitioners from rural areas. 

As noted above, if you aren’t able to attend in-person, attendance is also possible online. 

Sponsorship

If your business would be interested in sponsoring the conference or an aspect of it, please contact me.  Sponsorship dollars help make a conference like this possible and play an important role in the training of new lawyers for rural areas to represent farmers and ranchers, tax practitioners in rural areas as well as legislators. 

For more information about the Idaho conferences and to register, click here: 

Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Track:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/farmandranchtaxaugust.html

Ag Law Track:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/idahoaglaw.html

July 8, 2023 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Summer Seminars (Michigan and Idaho) and Miscellaneous Ag Law Topics

Overview

Later this week is the first of two summer conferences put on by Washburn Law School focusing on farm income taxation as well as farm and ranch estate and business planning.  This week’s conference will be in Petoskey, Michigan, which is near the northernmost part of the lower peninsula of Michigan.  Attendance can also be online.  For more information and registration click here:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/farmandranchtaxjune.html  On August 7-8, a twin-track conference will be held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. 

More information on the August Idaho Conference and some topics in ag law – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Idaho Conference

On August 7-8, Washburn Law School will be sponsoring the a twin-track ag tax and law conference at North Idaho College in Coeur d’ Alene, ID.  Over two days in adjoining conference rooms the focus will be on providing continuing education for tax professionals and lawyers that represent agricultural clients.  All sessions are focused on practice-relevant topic.  One of the two-day tracks will focus on agricultural taxation on Day 1 and farm/ranch estate and business planning on Day 2.  The other track will be two-days of various agricultural legal issues. 

Here's a bullet-point breakdown of the topics:

Tax Track (Day 1)

  • Caselaw and IRS Update
  • What is “Farm Income” for Farm Program Purposes?
  • Inventory Method – Options for Farmers
  • Machinery Trades
  • Solar Panel Tax Issues – Other Easement and Rental Issues
  • Protecting a Tax Practice From Scammers
  • Amending Partnership Returns
  • Corporate Provided Meals and Lodging
  • CRATs
  • IC-DISCS
  • When Cash Method Isn’t Available
  • Accounting for Hedging Transactions
  • Deducting a Purchased Growing Crop
  • Deducting Soil Fertility

Tax Track (Day 2)

  • Estate and Gift Tax Current Developments
  • Succession Plans that Work (and Some That Don’t)
  • The Use of SLATs in Estate Planning
  • Form 1041 and Distribution Deductions
  • Social Security as an Investment
  • Screening New Clients
  • Ethics for Estate Planners

Ag Law Track (Day 1)

  • Current Developments and Issues
  • Current Ag Economic Trends
  • Handling Adverse Decisions on Federal Grazing Allotments
  • Getting and Retaining Young Lawyers in Rural Areas
  • Private Property Rights and the Clean Water Act – the Aftermath of the Sackett Decision
  • Ethics

Ag Law Track (Day 2)

  • Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land
  • Immigrant Labor in Ag
  • Animal Welfare and the Legal System
  • How/Why Farmers and Ranchers Use and Need Ag Lawyers and Tax Pros
  • Agricultural Leases

Both tracks will be running simultaneously, and both will be broadcast live online.  Also, you can register for either track.  There’s also a reception on the evening of the first day on August 7.  The reception is sponsored by the University of Idaho College of Law and the College of Life Sciences at the University of Idaho, as well as the Agricultural Law Section of the Idaho State Bar.

For more information about the Idaho conferences and to register, click here:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/farmandranchtaxaugust.html and here:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/idahoaglaw.html

Miscellaneous Agricultural Law Topics

Proper Tax Reporting of 4-H/FFA Projects

When a 4-H or FFA animal is sold after the fair, the net income should be reported on the other income line of the 1040.  It’s not subject to self-employment tax if the animal was raised primarily for educational purposes and not for profit and was raised under the rules of the sponsoring organization.  It’s also not earned income for “kiddie-tax” purposes.  But, if the animal was raised as part of an activity that the seller was engaged in on a regular basis for profit, the sale income should be reported on Schedule F.  That’s where the income should be reported if the 4-H or FFA member also has other farming activities.  By being reported on Schedule F, it will be subject to self-employment tax.

There are also other considerations.  For example, if the seller wants to start an IRA with the sale proceeds, the income must be earned.  Also, is it important for the seller to earn credits for Social Security purposes? 

The Importance of Checking Beneficiary Designations

U.S. Bank, N.A. v. Bittner, 986 N.W.2d 840 (Iowa 2023)

It’s critical to make sure you understand the beneficiary designations for your non-probate property and change them as needed over time as your life situation changes.  For example, in one recent case, an individual had over $3.5 million in his IRA when he died, survived by his wife and four children.  His will said the IRA funds were to be used to provide for his widow during her life and then pass to a family trust for the children.  When he executed his will, he also signed a new beneficiary designation form designating his wife as the primary beneficiary.  He executed a new will four years later and said the IRA would be included in the marital trust created under the will if no federal estate tax would be triggered, with the balance passing to the children upon his wife’s death.  He didn’t update his IRA beneficiary designation.

When he died, everyone except one son agreed that the widow got all of the IRA.  The son claimed it should go to the family trust.  Ultimately, the court said the IRA passed to the widow. 

It’s important to pay close attention to details when it comes to beneficiary designations and your overall estate plan.

Liability Release Forms – Do They Work?

Green v. Lajitas Capital Partners, LLC, No. 08-22-00175-CV, 2023 Tex. App. LEXIS 2860 (Tex. Ct. App. Apr. 28, 2023)

Will a liability release form hold up in court?  In a recent Texas case, a group paid to go on a sunset horseback trail ride at a Resort.  They signed liability release forms that waived any claims against the Resort.  After the ride was almost done and the riders were returning to the stable, the group rode next to a golf course.  An underground sprinkler went off, making a hissing sound that spooked the horses.  One rider fell off resulting in bruises and a fractured wrist.  She sued claiming the Resort was negligent and that the sprinklers were a dangerous condition that couldn’t be seen so the liability waiver didn’t apply.

The court disagreed, noting that the liability release form used bold capitalized letters in large font for the key provisions.  The rider had initialed those key provisions.  The court also said the form wasn’t too broad and didn’t’ only cover accidents caused by natural conditions. 

The outcome might not be the same in other states.  But, if a liability release form is clear, and each paragraph is initialed and the document is signed, you have a better chance that it will hold up in court.

Equity Theft

Tyler v. Hennepin County, No. 22-166, 2023 U.S. LEXIS 2201 (U.S. Sup. Ct. May 25, 2023)

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that if you lose your home through forfeiture for failure to pay property taxes, that you get to keep your equity.  The case involved a Minnesota county that followed the state’s forfeiture law when the homeowner failed to pay property tax, sold the property and kept the proceeds – including the owner’s equity remaining after the tax debt was satisfied.  The Supreme Court unanimously said the Minnesota law was unconstitutional. The same thing previously happened to the owner of an alpaca farm in Massachusetts, and a farm owner in Nebraska.  The Nebraska legislature later changed the rules for service of notice when applying for a tax deed, but states that still allow the government to retain the equity will have to change their laws.

Equity theft tends to bear more heavily on those that can least afford to hire legal assistance or qualify for legal aid.  Also, all states bar lenders and private companies from keeping the proceeds of a forfeiture sale, so equity forfeiture laws were inconsistent.  Now the Supreme Court has straightened the matter out. 

You won’t lose your equity if you lose your farm for failure to pay property tax.

The Climate, The Congress and Farmers

Farmers in the Netherlands are being told that because of the goal of “net-zero emissions” of greenhouse gases and other so-called “pollutants” by 2050, they will be phased out if they can’t adapt.  Could that happen in the U.S.?  The U.S. Congress is working on a Farm Bill, and last year’s “Inflation Reduction Act” funnels about $20 billion of climate funds into agriculture which could end up in policies that put similar pressures on American farmers.  Some estimates are that agricultural emissions will make up 30 percent of U.S. total greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.  But, fossil fuels are vital to fertilizers and pesticides, which improve crop production and reduce food prices. 

The political leader of Sri Lanka banned synthetic fertilizer and pesticide imports in 2021.  The next year, inflation was at 55 percent, the economy was in shambles, the government fell, and the leader fled the country.

Energy security, ag production and food security are all tied to cheap, reliable and efficient energy sources.  Using less energy will result in higher food prices, and that burden will fall more heavily on those least likely to be able to afford it. 

As the Farm Bill is written, the Congress should keep these things in mind.

Secure Act 2.0 Errors

In late 2019, the Congress passed the SECURE ACT which made significant changes to retirement plans and impacted retirement planning.  Guidance is still needed on some provisions of that law.  In 2022, SECURE ACT 2.0 became law, but it has at least three errors that need to be fixed. 

The SECURE ACT increased the required minimum distribution (RMD) age from 70 and ½ to age 72.  With SECURE ACT 2.0, the RMD increased to age 73 effective January 1, 2023.  It goes to age 75 starting in 2033.  But, for those born in 1959, there are currently two RMD ages in 2033 – it’s either 73 or 75 that year.  Which age is correct?  Congressional intent is likely 75, but te Congress needs to clearly specify. 

Another error involves Roth IRAs.  Starting in 2024, if you earn more than $145,000 (mfj) in 2023, you will have to do non-deductible catch-up contributions in Roth form.  But SECURE ACT 2.0 says that all catch-up contributions starting in 2024 will be disallowed.  This needs to be corrected.

There’s also an issue with SEPs and SIMPLE plans that are allowed to do ROTH contributions and how those contributions impact ROTH limitations. 

Congress needs to fix these issues this year.  If it does, it will likely be late in 2023.

Implications of SCOTUS Union Decision on Farming Businesses

Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Board of Teamsters Local Union No. 174, No. 21-1449, 2023 U.S. LEXIS 2299 (U.S. Sup. Ct. Jun. 1, 2023)

The Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that will make it easier for employers to sue labor unions for tort-type damages caused by a work stoppage.   The Court’s opinion has implications for ag employers. 

The Court ruled that an employer can sidestep federal administrative agency procedures of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and go straight to court when striking workers damage the company’s property rather than merely cause economic harm.  The case involved a concrete company that sued the labor union representing its drivers for damages.  The workers filled mixer trucks with concrete ready to pour knowing they were going to walk away.  The company sued for damage to their property – something that’s not protected under federal labor law.  The Union claimed that the matter had to go through federal administrative channels (the NLRB) first. 

The Supreme Court said the case was more like an ordinary tort lawsuit than a federal labor dispute, so the company could go straight to court.  Walking away was inconsistent with accepting a perishable commodity. 

What’s the ag angle?  Where there are labor disputes in agriculture, they are often timed to damage perishable food products such as fruit and vegetables.  Based on the Court’s 8-1 opinion, merely timing a work stoppage during harvest might not be enough to be deemed economic damage, unless the Union has a contract.  But striking after a sorting line has begun would seem to be enough.

Digital Grain Contracts

The U.S. grain marketing infrastructure is quite efficient.  But there are changes that could improve on that existing efficiency.  Digital contracts are starting to replace paper grain contracts.  The benefits could be improved record-keeping, simplified transactions, reduced marketing costs and expanded market access. 

Grain traveling in barges down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers is usually bought and sold many times between river and export terminals.  That means that each transaction requires a paper bill of lading that must be transferred when the barge was sold.  But now those bills of lading are being moved to an online platform.  Grain exporters are also using digital platforms. 

These changes to grain marketing could save farmers and merchandisers dollars and make the supply chain more efficient.  But a problem remains in how the various platforms are to be connected.  Verification issues also loom large.  How can a buyer verify that a purchased commodity meets the contract criteria?  That will require information to be shared up the supply chain.  And, of course, anytime transactions become digital, the digital network can be hacked.  In that situation, what are the safeguards that are in place and what’s the backup plan if the system goes down? 

Clearly, there have been advancements in digital grain trading, but there is still more work to be done.  In addition, not all farmers may be on board with a digital system. 

June 11, 2023 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Real Property | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Bibliography – First Quarter of 2023

The following is a listing by category of my blog articles for the first quarter of 2023.

Bankruptcy

Failure to Execute a Written Lease Leads to a Lawsuit; and Improper Use of SBA Loan Funds

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/failure-to-execute-a-written-lease-leads-to-a-lawsuit-and-improper-use-of-sba-loan-funds.html

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy – Proposing a Reorganization Plan in Good Faith

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/chapter-12-bankruptcy-proposing-a-reorganization-plan-in-good-faith.html

Business Planning

Summer Seminars

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/summer-seminars.html

Registration Now Open for Summer Conference No. 1 – Petoskey, Michigan (June 15-16)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/04/registration-now-open-for-summer-conference-no-1-petoskey-michigan-june-15-16.html

Civil Liabilities

Top Ag Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Part 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-part-1.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 8 and 7

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-8-and-7.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 2 and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-2-and-1.html

Contracts

Top Ag Law and Developments of 2022 – Part 2

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ag-law-and-developments-of-2022-part-2.html

Failure to Execute a Written Lease Leads to a Lawsuit; and Improper Use of SBA Loan Funds

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/failure-to-execute-a-written-lease-leads-to-a-lawsuit-and-improper-use-of-sba-loan-funds.html

Double Fractions in Oil and Gas Conveyances and Leases – Resulting Interpretive Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/double-fractions-in-oil-and-gas-conveyances-and-leases-resulting-interpretive-issues.html

Environmental Law

Here Come the Feds: EPA Final Rule Defining Waters of the United States – Again

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/here-come-the-feds-epa-final-rule-defining-waters-of-the-united-states-again.html

Top Ag Law and Developments of 2022 – Part 2

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ag-law-and-developments-of-2022-part-2.html

Top Ag Law and Developments of 2022 – Part 3

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-part-3.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 10 and 9

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-nos-10-and-9.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 6 and 5

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-6-and-5.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 4 and 3

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-4-and-3.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 2 and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-2-and-1.html

Estate Planning

Tax Court Opinion – Charitable Deduction Case Involving Estate Planning Fraudster

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/tax-court-opinion-charitable-deduction-case-involving-estate-planning-fraudster.html

Happenings in Agricultural Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/happenings-in-agricultural-law-and-tax.html

Summer Seminars

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/summer-seminars.html

RMD Rules Have Changed – Do You Have to Start Receiving Payments from Your Retirement Plan?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/rmd-rules-have-changed-do-you-have-to-start-receiving-payments-from-your-retirement-plan.html

Common Law Marriage – It May Be More Involved Than What You Think

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/04/common-law-marriage-it-may-be-more-involved-than-what-you-think.html

The Marital Deduction, QTIP Trusts and Coordinated Estate Planning

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/04/the-marital-deduction-qtip-trusts-and-coordinated-estate-planning.html

Registration Now Open for Summer Conference No. 1 – Petoskey, Michigan (June 15-16)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/04/registration-now-open-for-summer-conference-no-1-petoskey-michigan-june-15-16.html

Income Tax

Top Ag Law and Developments of 2022 – Part 3

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ag-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-part-3.html

Top Ag Law and Developments of 2022 – Part 4

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-part-4.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 8 and 7

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-8-and-7.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 2 and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-2-and-1.html

Tax Court Opinion – Charitable Deduction Case Involving Estate Planning Fraudster

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/tax-court-opinion-charitable-deduction-case-involving-estate-planning-fraudster.html

Deducting Residual (Excess) Soil Fertility

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/deducting-residual-excess-soil-fertility.html

Deducting Residual (Excess) Soil Fertility – Does the Concept Apply to Pasture/Rangeland? (An Addendum)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/deducting-residual-excess-soil-fertility-does-the-concept-apply-to-pasturerangeland-an-addendum.html

Happenings in Agricultural Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/happenings-in-agricultural-law-and-tax.html

Summer Seminars

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/summer-seminars.html

RMD Rules Have Changed – Do You Have to Start Receiving Payments from Your Retirement Plan?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/rmd-rules-have-changed-do-you-have-to-start-receiving-payments-from-your-retirement-plan.html

Registration Now Open for Summer Conference No. 1 – Petoskey, Michigan (June 15-16)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/04/registration-now-open-for-summer-conference-no-1-petoskey-michigan-june-15-16.html

Real Property

Equity “Theft” – Can I Lose the Equity in My Farm for Failure to Pay Property Taxes?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/equity-theft-can-i-lose-my-farm-for-failure-to-pay-property-taxes.html

Happenings in Agricultural Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/happenings-in-agricultural-law-and-tax.html

Adverse Possession and a “Fence of Convenience”

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/adverse-possession-and-a-fence-of-convenience.html

Double Fractions in Oil and Gas Conveyances and Leases – Resulting Interpretive Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/double-fractions-in-oil-and-gas-conveyances-and-leases-resulting-interpretive-issues.html

Abandoned Rail Lines – Issues for Abutting Landowners

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/abandoned-rail-lines-issues-for-abutting-landowners.html

Regulatory Law

Top Ag Law and Developments of 2022 – Part 2

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ag-law-and-developments-of-2022-part-2.html

Top Ag Law and Developments of 2022 – Part 4

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-part-4.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 10 and 9

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-nos-10-and-9.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 8 and 7

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-8-and-7.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 6 and 5

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-6-and-5.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 4 and 3

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-4-and-3.html

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 2 and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-2-and-1.html

Foreign Ownership of Agricultural Land

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/foreign-ownership-of-agricultural-land.html

Abandoned Rail Lines – Issues for Abutting Landowners

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/abandoned-rail-lines-issues-for-abutting-landowners.html

Secured Transactions

Priority Among Competing Security Interests

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/02/priority-among-competing-security-interests.html

Water Law

Top Ten Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2022 – Numbers 2 and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2022-numbers-2-and-1.html

Happenings in Agricultural Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2023/03/happenings-in-agricultural-law-and-tax.html

April 20, 2023 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 9, 2023

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy – Proposing a Reorganization Plan in Good Faith

Overview

The USDA’s Economic Research Service expects 2023 net farm incomes to decline nearly 16 percent in 2023 compared to 2022.  That expectation is anticipated to be the result of lower cash receipts (projected to drop 4.3 percent), smaller government payments (down 34.4 percent) and higher production costs (particularly fertilizer, lime and soil conditioners).  Interest expense is anticipated to increase 22 percent from 2022 and labor costs are projected to rise 7 percent.  Net cash income is expected to drop 21 percent from last year.  With high costs associated with planting the 2023 crop, if markets turn downward, the result could spell financial trouble for farmers even if yields are excellent.

That’s just the farm-related economic projections.  As I mentioned in a prior blog article, the expanding war against Russia being fought in Ukraine will continue to dominate ag markets throughout 2023.  In addition, the general economic outlook is not good and that will have implications in 2023 for farmers and ranchers.  On January 26, the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis issued a report (https://www.bea.gov/) showing that the U.S. economy grew by 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 2.1 percent for all of 2022.  But the report also showed that economic growth in the economy is slowing.  Business investment grew by a mere 1.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, consisting almost entirely of inventory growth.  That will mean that businesses will be forced to sell off inventories at discounts, which will lower business profits and be a drag on economic growth in 2023.  Nonresidential investment was down 26.7 percent due to the increase in home prices, increased interest rates and a drop in real income.  On that last point, real disposable income dropped $1 trillion in 2022, the largest drop since 1932 - the low point of the Great Depression.  Personal savings also dropped by $1.6 trillion in 2022.  This is a "ticking timebomb" that is not sustainable because it means that consumers are depleting cash reserves and living off of credit cards.  Indeed, the Federal Reserve reported that credit card debt increased 18.5 percent during calendar year 2022. This indicates that spending will continue to slow in 2023 and further stymie economic growth - about two-thirds of GDP is based on consumer spending.  Relatedly, the Dow was down 8.8 percent for 2022, the worst year since 2008.   2022 also saw a reduction in the pace of international trade.  Imports dropped more than exports which increases GDP, giving the illusion that the economy is better off.  

With all of these “rough waters” ahead for farmers and ranchers, Chapter 12 bankruptcy might be one avenue that can provide debt relief for farmers and ranchers.  A recent case points out that one aspect of Chapter 12 is critical.

The requirement of filing a Chapter 12 reorganization plan in “good faith” – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Good Faith Filing 

A Chapter 12 plans is to be confirmed if, among other things, it is proposed in good faith.  11 U.S.C. § 1225(a)(3).     There have been many court decisions since the enactment of Chapter 12 in 1986 that have dealt with the issue of good faith filing.  A recent Chapter 12 case from Wisconsin has again illustrated the requirement that a Chapter 12 plan be filed in good faith.

Recent Case

In re Sternitzky, No. 21-11358-12, 2021 Bankr. LEXIS 3500 (Bankr. W.D. Wisc. Dec. 23, 2021); No. 21-11358-12, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 205 (W.D. Wisc. Jan. 27, 2022); Sternitzky v. State Bank Financial, No. 21-cv-822-wmc, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 205895 (W.D. Wis. Nov. 14, 2022).

In Sternitzky, the debtors operated a dairy and filed Chapter 12 bankruptcy.  Other family members were listed as co-debtors along with their farming business on various debts owed to a bank, including a mortgage on the farm real estate and a perfected security agreement where the other family members pledged equipment, fixtures, crops and inventory as collateral.  This case is the third bankruptcy case for the debtors’ dairy operation.  The first case was filed by the farming operation, and the next two filings were in the names of the debtors.  The first case was dismissed, and the bank filed a foreclosure and replevin action against the debtors, family members and the farming operation.  Before the notice concerning the lawsuit against the real estate was recorded, the family members transferred ownership of the mortgaged land by quitclaim deed to the debtors without the bank’s consent.  The debtors filed the second case just before a summary judgment hearing was scheduled in state court.  The bank then filed motions for relief from the automatic stay to bar the use of cash collateral, and to dismiss the case.  The parties settled, agreeing to a payment plan.  The debtors then defaulted on the payment plan and notified the bank of their intent to exit the dairy business and convert to a grain farming operation.  The bankruptcy court approved the debtors’ sale of 160 acres of wooded land and farm personalty that was collateral of a different creditor.  The case was then dismissed for the debtors’ failure to timely file a plan. 

The debtors filed the third bankruptcy case immediately before a state court hearing on a summary judgment motion against them based on the stipulated settlement.     The proceeds from the sale of collateral were insufficient to pay the bank debt in full.  There were also delinquent real estate taxes.  The bank sought relief from the automatic stay, and the court determined that the bank had established the existence of practically all of the factors a court considers for relief from the stay – obligations in default for a long time; motions by the bank in the prior cases for relief from the stay; debtors’ default on stipulations in the prior cases; strategic filings; repeated failure to pay taxes on collateral; the debt involved is not consumer debt; the filings and transfers of property were timed to precede events in state court foreclosure action; there were reasons for dismissal of the prior cases; strategic dismissal of prior Chapter 12 and refiled the current case; current case sought to avoid consequences of two prior agreements with the bank. 

The court granted relief from the stay and waived the temporary stay of Bankruptcy Rule 4001(a)(3) to allow the bank to take action to pursue entry of judgment in state court.  The bank also sought dismissal of the Chapter 12 case and the court found cause to dismiss or convert the case.  The court noted that the debtors had almost four years to put together a feasible reorganization plan but did not do so, and their motive in filing the current case was to delay any foreclosure or replevin.   The court ordered that the automatic stay be lifted pursuant to 11 U.S.C.§362(d)(1), waived the temporary stay, concluded that the case was filed in bad faith, dismissed the case for cause under 11 U.S.C. §1208(c) and imposed a 180-day bar against re-filing under 11 U.S.C. §109(g).  In a later action, the debtors sought a stay against any actions of creditors pending appeal. The court, based on an analysis of all of the factors, granted a conditional stay and required the debtors to pay 2021 real estate taxes on a bank’s real estate collateral, pay all unpaid real estate taxes on that tract along with monthly interest payments to the bank. 

The debtors appealed claiming that the bankruptcy court did not consider the totality of the circumstances; that the bankruptcy court incorrectly considered their defaults on prior stipulation agreements; and that the bankruptcy court should have held an evidentiary hearing. The district court reviewed the record for error and concluded that the bankruptcy court correctly looked at the totality of the circumstances and recognized that the plaintiffs had abused the bankruptcy process to avoid paying their debt or suffering repercussions with strategic filings. The district court also held that the bankruptcy court could consider the failed stipulation agreements, because the bankruptcy court still considered all the facts and did not consider any single fact dispositive. The plaintiffs tried to argue that the bankruptcy court did not consider the plaintiffs actions that were in good faith. The district court explained that the bankruptcy court did consider these but did not give them much weight because of all of the evidence of bad faith. The district court held that the bankruptcy court could give more weight to the bad faith evidence and the decision to find lack of good faith “is plausible in light of the record viewed in its entirety.” Plausible, but not error.

The debtors argued that 11 U.S.C. §349 prevented the bankruptcy court from considering an earlier stipulation agreement. The district court explained that 11 U.S.C. §349 is meant to make the earlier stipulation agreement unenforceable but does not restrict a court from considering it in a good faith filing. Finally, the debtors argued that the bankruptcy court was required to hold an evidentiary hearing, but the district court noted that nothing in the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, nor 11 U.S.C. § 102(1), requires an evidentiary hearing. The bankruptcy court must have an informal hearing in particular circumstances, but here the record was clear enough for the bankruptcy court to make a proper decision. The district court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision to dismiss the plaintiffs’ Chapter 12 case and granted the defendant’s motion for relief from the automatic stay.

Conclusion

With 2023 projected to be a difficult year for agricultural producers, Chapter 12 filings may increase.  One of the requirements to get a Chapter 12 reorganization plan approved is that be filed in “good faith.”

February 9, 2023 in Bankruptcy | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Failure to Execute a Written Lease Leads to a Lawsuit; and Improper Use of SBA Loan Funds

Overview

One of the most important things that a farmer or rancher can do is to put lease agreements in writing.  The problems that can arise with an oral lease are to innumerable to list or even think of.  The first case below is an example.  The second case involves a farm couple that were struggling financially and were trying to utilize Chapter 12 bankruptcy and SBA COVID relief funds.  But the rules must be followed closely, as the Nebraska bankruptcy court’s decision illustrates.

Problems with oral farming agreements and misuse of SBA loan funds – these are the topics of today’s post.

Document Filed with FSA Not a Valid Lease 

Coniglio v. Woods, No. 06-22-00021-CV, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 8926 (Tex. Ct. App. Dec. 7, 2022)

Involved in this case was land in Texas that the landowner’s son managed for his father who lived in Florida. The landowner needed the hay cut on 107 acres of the over 5,100-acre farm and agreed orally that the plaintiff, a neighboring landowner, could cut the hay when necessary.  The hay was cut on an annual basis.  So that he could receive government farm program payments on the land, the plaintiff filed wrote up a “memorialization of a lease agreement” and filed it with the local USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA).  The agreement stated as follows:  “This is to inform you that Michael J. Woods operates my farm [farm number specified], (approximately 107 acres) agriculturally for hay.  This lease agreement began in 2015 and will continue thru December 31, 2020.”  The document was dated September 28, 2016, and was signed by the plaintiff.  The landowner’s son also signed the agreement at the plaintiff’s request, but later testified that he didn’t believe the document to constitute a written lease.  After three years of cutting the hay, the landowner wanted to lease the hay ground for solar development and the plaintiff was told by the landowner and son that the hay no longer needed to be cut and there would be no hay profits to share. 

The plaintiff sued for breach of a farm lease agreement – purportedly a lease for a five-year term.  The plaintiff also claimed that the father and son tortiously interfered with contract for future years, were unjustly enriched by the breach and had also violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DPTA).  The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff on the basis that the form submitted to the USDA was sufficient to show the existence of a lease agreement, and entered a judgment for the plaintiff and against the father and son, jointly and severally, for $163,434.68 for breach of the “lease.”  The trial court also awarded triple that amount ($490,304.94) for violation of the DPTA.   The trial court also awarded court costs and attorney fees.  The total award was $601,815.62,   

On appeal, the defendant claimed that the document filed with the FSA did not satisfy the writing requirement of the statute of frauds.  The father testified that he wasn’t aware of any lease agreement and the son testified the arrangement was simply one to have the plaintiff cut the hay when needed and the parties would split the hay.  The son testified that he signed the agreement simply so that the plaintiff could receive the farm subsidies associated with the hay ground.  The appellate court agreed, noting that the document didn’t contain the essential terms of the lease.  It didn’t denote the names of the parties, didn’t describe the property, didn’t note the rental rate, and didn’t list any conditions or any consideration.  Accordingly, the appellate court determined that no valid lease existed and reversed the trial court’s judgment.

Debtors Barred From Further Use of COVID Relief Funds

In re Klein, No. BK 22-40804, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 3451 (Bankr. D. Neb. Dec. 7, 2022)

This is the debtors’ third Chapter 12 case since 2019. Two banks as creditors filed motions to dismiss, asserting the debtors were not eligible for Chapter 12 bankruptcy because they were not “family farmers” at the time of filing Chapter 12.  The debtors claimed that they did meet the definition of a “family farmer” because they were engaged in farming with 15 cows, 5 calves, a one-half interest in a bull, and cash to operate.  However, the debtors did not know where their cows were or if any of them were pregnant. They also failed to confirm a plan in their previous Chapter 12 cases, did not own any land or equipment and were on the brink of surrendering their livestock.  Their only source of income was Social Security. The debtors obtained a $500,000 COVID hardship loan from the SBA in October of 2021 based on their representation that they were engaged in the business of farming, operating under a confirmed Chapter 12 plan.  When they applied for the loan, the debtors agreed the loan money would only be used as working capital and there was no “substantial adverse change” in their financial condition. The debtors failed to schedule the loan and the debtors claimed they had an approved plan of reorganization for their bankruptcy claim, which they did not. When the debtors received the loan, they paid their attorneys for work on their prior bankruptcy cases, paid themselves for farm work, paid for their own groceries, and paid their daughters as contractors. Within four months of the loan disbursement the debtors had used $275,594.41 of the loan. The SBA sought a preliminary injunction against the debtors to ensure they could not use the remainder of the loan that SBA alleged was obtained by fraud. The bankruptcy court granted the preliminary injunction against the debtors to protect the remainder of the SBA loan.  The court found that without the injunction the SBA would suffer irreparable harm if the loan proceeds were spent, and that the SBA would suffer greater harm if an injunction wasn’t entered than if the debtors’ access to was limited.  The court also determined that the SBA was likely to succeed on its claim to except the debt from discharge and that public policy favored ensuring that the loan process was not abused and that the loan funds were properly used. 

Observation

In Coniglio, the lack of a formal written document memorializing the relationship between the parties and the duties and expectations of both, created a problem that resulted in litigation – litigation that could have been avoided.  Based on the facts as stated by the court, the arrangement appeared to be one of a custom cutter.  That would be the result if the plaintiff supplied the machinery to cut the hay.  In that event, the plaintiff would have simply been an independent contractor and not a tenant.  The other possibility is that the plaintiff was a cropper that was compensated with a share of the crop.  To be a cropper, the plaintiff would have used the landowner’s (or son’s) equipment.  In that instance, the plaintiff would not have any legally enforceable interest in the crop, but would have a contract right to compensation for the provision of his in-kind labor.  A cropper is an employee that is hired to produce a crop.  A cropper has no interest in the real estate is not a tenant operating under a lease agreement.  A cropper is, in essence, an employee.  See, e.g., Henney v. Lambert, 237 Iowa 146, 21 N.W.2d 301 (1946).  The court didn’t get into these distinctions, but that would be the analysis.  In any event, the writing, by itself, was insufficient to constitute a lease. 

Conclusion

The court opinions indicate the problems that can arise when farming agreements aren’t reduced to writing and how financial distress can lead to the snowballing of additional legal issues. 

February 2, 2023 in Bankruptcy, Contracts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 30, 2023

Bibliography - July Through December 2022

Overview

 After the first half of 2022, I posted a blog article of a bibliography of my blog articles for the first half of 2022.  You can find that bibliography here:  Bibliography – January through June of 2022

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/bibliography-january-through-june-of-2022.html.

Bibliography of articles for that second half of 2022 – you can find it in today’s post.

Alphabetical Topical Listing of Articles (July 2022 – December 2022)

Bankruptcy

More Ag Law Developments – Potpourri of Topics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/more-ag-law-developments-potpourri-of-topics.html

Business Planning

Durango Conference and Recent Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/durango-conference-and-recent-developments-in-the-courts.html

Is a C Corporation a Good Entity Choice For the Farm or Ranch Business?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/whats-the-best-entity-structure-for-the-farm-or-ranch-business.html

What is a “Reasonable Compensation”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/what-is-reasonable-compensation.html

Federal Farm Programs: Organizational Structure Matters – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/federal-farm-programs-organizational-structure-matters-part-three.html

LLCs and Self-Employment Tax – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/llcs-and-self-employment-tax-part-one.html

LLCs and Self-Employment Tax – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/llcs-and-self-employment-tax-part-two.html

Civil Liabilities

Durango Conference and Recent Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/durango-conference-and-recent-developments-in-the-courts.html

Dicamba Spray-Drift Issues and the Bader Farms Litigation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/dicamba-spray-drift-issues-and-the-bader-farms-litigation.html

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

More Ag Law Developments – Potpourri of Topics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/more-ag-law-developments-potpourri-of-topics.html

Ag Law Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/ag-law-developments-in-the-courts.html

Contracts

Minnesota Farmer Protection Law Upheld

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/minnesota-farmer-protection-law-upheld.html

Criminal Liabilities

Durango Conference and Recent Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/20Ag Law Summit

https://lawpr22/07/durango-conference-and-recent-developments-in-the-courts.html

Environmental Law

Constitutional Limit on Government Agency Power – The “Major Questions” Doctrine

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/constitutional-limit-on-government-agency-power-the-major-questions-doctrine.html

More Ag Law Developments – Potpourri of Topics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/more-ag-law-developments-potpourri-of-topics.html

Court Says COE Acted Arbitrarily When Declining Jurisdiction Over Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/court-says-coe-acted-arbitrarily-when-declining-jurisdiction-over-farmland.html

Ag Law Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/ag-law-developments-in-the-courts.html

Estate Planning

Farm/Ranch Tax, Estate and Business Planning Conference August 1-2 – Durango, Colorado (and Online)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/farmranch-tax-estate-and-business-planning-conference-august-1-2-durango-colorado-and-online.html

IRS Modifies Portability Election Rule

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/irs-modifies-portability-election-rule.html

Modifying an Irrevocable Trust – Decanting

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/modifying-an-irrevocable-trust-decanting.html

Farm and Ranch Estate Planning in 2022 (and 2023)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/farm-and-ranch-estate-planning-in-2022-and-2023.html

Social Security Planning for Farmers and Ranchers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/11/social-security-planning-for-farmers-and-ranchers.html

How NOT to Use a Charitable Remainder Trust

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/how-not-to-use-a-charitable-remainder-trust.html

Recent Cases Involving Decedents’ Estates

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/recent-cases-involving-decedents-estates.html

Medicaid Estate Recovery and Trusts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/medicaid-estate-recovery-and-trusts.html

Income Tax

What is the Character of Land Sale Gain?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/what-is-the-character-of-land-sale-gain.html

Deductible Start-Up Costs and Web-Based Businesses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/deductible-start-up-costs-and-web-based-businesses.html

Using Farm Income Averaging to Deal With Economic Uncertainty and Resulting Income Fluctuations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/using-farm-income-averaging-to-deal-with-economic-uncertainty-and-resulting-income-fluctuations.html

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

What is “Reasonable Compensation”?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/what-is-reasonable-compensation.html

LLCs and Self-Employment Tax – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/llcs-and-self-employment-tax-part-one.html

LLCs and Self-Employment Tax – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/llcs-and-self-employment-tax-part-two.html

USDA’s Emergency Relief Program (Update on Gain from Equipment Sales)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/usdas-emergency-relief-program-update-on-gain-from-equipment-sales.html

Declaring Inflation Reduced and Being Forgiving – Recent Developments in Tax and Law

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/declaring-inflation-reduced-and-being-forgiving-recent-developments-in-tax-and-law.html

Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

Extended Livestock Replacement Period Applies in Areas of Extended Drought – IRS Updated Drought Areas

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/extended-livestock-replacement-period-applies-in-areas-of-extended-drought-irs-updated-drought-areas.html

More Ag Law Developments – Potpourri of Topics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/more-ag-law-developments-potpourri-of-topics.html

IRS Audits and Statutory Protection

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/irs-audits-and-statutory-protection.html

Handling Expenses of Crops with Pre-Productive Periods – The Uniform Capitalization Rules

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/handling-expenses-of-crops-with-pre-productive-periods-the-uniform-capitalization-rules.html

When Can Depreciation First Be Claimed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/for-depreciation-purposes-what-does-placed-in-service-mean.html

Tax Treatment of Crops and/or Livestock Sold Post-Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/11/tax-treatment-of-crops-andor-livestock-sold-post-death.html

Social Security Planning for Farmers and Ranchers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/11/social-security-planning-for-farmers-and-ranchers.html

Are Crop Insurance Proceeds Deferrable for Tax Purposes?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/11/are-crop-insurance-proceeds-deferrable-for-tax-purposes.html

Tax Issues Associated With Easement Payments – Part 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/11/tax-issues-associated-with-easement-payments-part-1.html

Tax Issues Associated With Easement Payments – Part 2

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/11/tax-issues-associated-with-easement-payments-part-2.html

How NOT to Use a Charitable Remainder Trust

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/how-not-to-use-a-charitable-remainder-trust.html

Does Using Old Tractors Mean You Aren’t a Farmer? And the Wind Energy Production Tax Credit – Is Subject to State Property Tax?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/does-using-old-tractors-mean-you-arent-a-farmer-and-the-wind-energy-production-tax-credit-is-it-subject-to-state-prop.html

Insurance

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

Real Property

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

Ag Law Summit

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/ag-law-summit.html

Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

More Ag Law Developments – Potpourri of Topics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/more-ag-law-developments-potpourri-of-topics.html

Ag Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/ag-law-developments-in-the-courts.html

Regulatory Law

Constitutional Limit on Government Agency Power – The “Major Questions” Doctrine

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/constitutional-limit-on-government-agency-power-the-major-questions-doctrine.html

The Complexities of Crop Insurance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/the-complexities-of-crop-insurance.html

Federal Farm Programs – Organizational Structure Matters – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/federal-farm-programs-organizational-structure-matters-part-one.html

Federal Farm Programs – Organizational Structure Matters – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/federal-farm-programs-organizational-structure-matters-part-two.html

Federal Farm Programs: Organizational Structure Matters – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/federal-farm-programs-organizational-structure-matters-part-three.html

USDA’s Emergency Relief Program (Update on Gain from Equipment Sales)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/08/usdas-emergency-relief-program-update-on-gain-from-equipment-sales.html

Minnesota Farmer Protection Law Upheld

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/minnesota-farmer-protection-law-upheld.html

Ag Law and Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/09/ag-law-and-tax-developments.html

Animal Ag Facilities and Free Speech – Does the Constitution Protect Saboteurs?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/animal-ag-facilities-and-free-speech-does-the-constitution-protect-saboteurs.html

Court Says COE Acted Arbitrarily When Declining Jurisdiction Over Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/court-says-coe-acted-arbitrarily-when-declining-jurisdiction-over-farmland.html

Ag Law Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/12/ag-law-developments-in-the-courts.html

Water Law

More Ag Law Developments – Potpourri of Topics

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/10/more-ag-law-developments-potpourri-of-topics.html

January 30, 2023 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

More Ag Law Developments – Potpourri of Topics

Overview

The courts have continued to issue decisions of relevance to farmers, ranchers and rural landowners.  In today’s post, I take a look at some of them from around the country.  From property rights to income tax to bankruptcy to herbicide crop damage and landowners disputing over drainage – it’s covered below.

Court Says Public Has Right to Use Private Riverbeds

Adobe Whitewater Club of N.M. v. N.M. State Game Comm'n., No. S-1-SC-38195, 2022 N.M. LEXIS 34 (N.M. Sup. Ct. Sept. 1, 2022)

 The plaintiffs, various environmental and recreation groups, sued the New Mexico State Gaming Commission (Commission), claiming a regulation of the Commission violated the public’s right to use parts of New Mexico’s rivers.  In 2017, the Commission, promulgated a regulation that outlined a process for landowners to obtain a certificate allowing them to close public access to segments of public water flowing over private property.  The plaintiffs challenged the regulation as unconstitutional. Article XVI, Section 2 of the New Mexico state constitution states, “the unappropriated water of every natural stream, perennial or torrential, within the state of New Mexico, is hereby declared to belong to the public.” The issue was whether the public’s right to use the public waters included the right to use the privately owned waterbeds. The New Mexico Supreme Court determined that riverbeds were considered navigable waterways and were subject to the “public trust doctrine.”  The private landowners along the riverbed intervened in the lawsuit and claimed the public would be considered trespassers on their land and they could exclude the trespassers. The Court disagreed, finding that the public has the right to use private land when reasonably necessary to gain access to or enjoy public rivers. The Court stated, “A determination of navigability only goes to who has title to the bed below the public water, not to the scope of the public use.”  As such the court concluded that the public had access to such rivers to float, wade, fish and engage in other recreational activities that would have a minimal impact on the rights of private property owners.   In addition, the Court held that such waters are and always have been public.  Accordingly, the Court invalidated the Commission’s regulation. 

Retained Ownership of Minable Surface Negates Conservation Easement Deduction.

C.C.A. 202236010 (Sept. 9, 2022)

The Chief Counsel’s office of IRS has taken the position that a conservation easement donation is invalid if the donor owns both the surface estate of the land burdened by the easement as well as a qualified mineral interest that has never been separated from the surface estate, and the deed retains any possibility of surface mining to extract subsurface minerals.  In that instance, the conservation easement doesn’t satisfy I.R.C. §170(h).  The IRS said the result would be the same even if the donee would have to approve the surface-mining method because the donated easement would not be donated exclusively for conservation purposes in accordance with I.R.C. §170(h)(5).  The IRS pointed out that Treas. Reg. §1.170A-14(g)(4) states that a donated easement does not protect conservation purposes in perpetuity if any method of mining that is inconsistent with the particular conservation purposes of the contribution is permitted at any time.  But, the IRS pointed out that a deduction is allowed if the mining method at issue has a limited, localized impact on the real estate and does not destroy significant conservation interests in a manner that can’t be remedied.  Surface mining, however, is specifically prohibited where the ownership of the surface estate and the mineral interest has never been separated.  On the specific facts involved, the IRS determined that the donated easement would not be treated at being made exclusively for conservation purposes because the donee could approve surface mining of the donor’s subsurface minerals.  

Family Farms Not Part of Bankruptcy Estate.

Ries v. Archer (In re Archer), Nos. 17-20045-RLJ-7, 19-02001, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 2250 (Bankr. N.D. Tex. Aug. 12, 2022)

A chapter 7 trustee sought a declaration that certain farm ground was a part of the bankrupt estate. The debtors, a married couple, had eight children, who all but one became medical doctors. The debtors had funded their children’s education throughout their lives with funds derived from the family farm. They owned 14 sections of land in Moore County, Texas, (northwest Texas) comprising what was referred to as the “Moore County Farm.”  Although, the deed from 1988 for the land listed the defendant’s children’s IRA as the grantee-buyer of the land, the children did not have IRAs at the time or played any part in purchasing the land. The children were not given any right to manage or operate the Moore County Farm so long as the debtors were mentally competent. Beginning in 1998, the USDA and CRP program began making payments to some of the defendant’s children and in 2007 farmers who rented land from the Moore County Farm began to pay some of the children. The children began to open accounts and lines of credit associated with the expenses of the Moore County Farm. From 2005 to 2017, the debtors instructed some of their children to apply as “New Producers” to the Federal Crop Insurance Program. Through this program they were provided with favorable crop insurance as “managers” of a farm, but none of the children had managerial control. Ultimately, the children were charged with and convicted of insurance fraud. Along with the 1988 deed, the debtors executed a warranty deed for the Moore County Farm to some of the children in 2006 and later transferred the farm to the children’s IRAs. In 2008, one of the defendant’s children purchased 670 acres in Randall County, referred to as the “Randall County Farm”. The debtors ultimately had primary authority and control of the farming operations of the Randall County Farm along with the Moore County Farm and had full control over the finances and accounting of the farms. The children did pay for some of the expenses on the Randall County Farm, but overall, the debtors operated the two farms as one entity.  There were no further legal issues until 2011 when one of the debtors’ cows was hit by a motorist who sustained serious injuries because of the accident and filed suit. The court awarded the man $8.95 million in damages to be paid by the debtors. The debtors then filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court noted that the children had shared significant responsibilities over the Moore County Farm with their father and that their father wanted to pass the property to his children through the deeds. The court concluded that just because the debtors continued to run the farm did not mean they did not want to ultimately gift the land to the children. The bankruptcy trustee argued this was another scam set up by the family, but the court was not convinced given the common desire of parents to devise property to their children. The evidence showed that the debtors’ intent was for the children to own the farms and operate them for enjoyment.  Based on these considerations, the court concluded that the Moore County Farm was not part of the bankruptcy estate. The trustee claimed that the Randall County Farm should have been a part of the estate. Because one of the children who purchased the land negotiated a conservation plan with the USDA, received CRP payments, and paid for the farm expenses, the child was the true owner of the Randall County Farm and could not be considered part of the bankruptcy estate. 

FIFRA Doesn’t Preempt State-Based Warranty Claims

Kissan Berry Farm v. Whatcom Farmers Cooperative, et al., No. 82774-0-I, 2022 Wash. App. LEXIS 1766 (Wash. Ct. App. Sept. 6, 2022)

The plaintiffs, five state of Washington red raspberry farms, claimed that the use of herbicide Callisto in 2012 killed their berry plants causing more than $2.5 million in lost production for 2012 and two following crop years.  Callisto’s use was recommended by an agronomist working on behalf of. the defendant. Callisto’s maker, Syngenta was also named in the suit.  Callisto’s label stated that it was safe for use on red raspberries. The label also indicated that usage could result in some crop damage and that compensation for crop damage was limited to the price of the herbicide.  The plaintiffs asserted that Syngenta and the agronomist had made various warranties that Callisto was safe for use on red raspberries.  Syngenta’s position that the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) preempted the farmers’ claims.  The trial court agreed on the basis that the plaintiffs’ claims would have required Syngenta to change the product label due to state law.  The appellate court reversed based on Bates v. Dow Agrosciences LLC, 544 U.S. 431 (2005). Under Bates, state law cannot require a change to a federally approved label, but state-based claims for breach of warranty are not preempted.   the Supreme Court found that a pesticide manufacturer who is found liable for state law breach of express warranty claims is not then induced to change their federally registered pesticide label.

Comparative Fault for Unmaintained Waterway

Watters v. Medinger, No. 21-1076, 2022 Iowa App. LEXIS 667 (Iowa Ct. App. Aug. 31, 2022)

The parties had been in various legal spats involving farmland for over a decade.  The plaintiff owned farmland adjacent to the defendant that contained waterways.  The plaintiff sued the defendant claiming the defendant altered his land in various ways causing extreme degradation and erosion along the plaintiff’s waterways.  The trial court determined that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent for failing to maintain or mow around the waterways, which allowed for ragweed to grow. The ragweed destroyed the grass along the waterway, which meant the water would flood quicker than it would have if grass could absorb some of the moisture. The trial court found that the defendant’s construction of a new cattle shed and addition of drain tiles did cause damage to the plaintiff’s property, but the at that time the plaintiff had already stopped properly maintaining the waterway. The trial court awarded the plaintiff $2,000 in damages to repair the damage caused by the erosion. The plaintiff appealed claiming that the damage award was insufficient.  The appellate court reviewed the plaintiff’s argument that the jury instruction was improper regarding comparative fault. The plaintiff tried to argue that he could not repair any part of the erosion until the drainage issues were solved. The appellate court held the plaintiff failed to address the failure to maintain the waterway before the draining issues arose. A farm tenant testified that the plaintiff’s property was already in “tough shape” before the defendant made any changes to his property. The appellate court held the comparative fault instruction was proper, because there was “a causal connection between the plaintiff’s fault and the claimed damages.”  Further, the appellate court held the award of damages was sufficient because the jury settled on an amount within the range of evidence based on expert testimony. Just because the amount was at the low end of the range did not mean the amount was insufficient. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s decision to deny the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial.

Conclusion

Agricultural law and taxation is a very dynamic discipline.  There is never a dull moment -more fodder for my radio shows and TV interviews, and content for my books and seminars.

October 6, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Civil Liabilities, Environmental Law, Income Tax, Real Property, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 11, 2022

September 30 Ag Law Summit in Omaha (and Online)

Overview

On September 30, Washburn Law School with cooperating partner Creighton Law School will conduct the second annual Ag Law Summit.  The Summit will be held on the Creighton University campus in Omaha, Nebraska.  Last September Washburn Law School conducted it’s first “Ag Law Summit” and held it at Mahoney State Park in Nebraska. This year the Summit returns in collaboration with Creighton University School of Law.  The Summit will be held at Creighton University on September 30 and will also be broadcast live online.

The Summit will cover various topics of relevance to agricultural producers and the tax and legal counsel that represent them. 

The 2022 Ag Law Summit – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Agenda

Developments in agricultural law and taxation.  I will start off the day with a session surveying the major recent ag law and tax developments.  This one-hour session will update attendees on the big issues facing ag clients and provide insight concerning the issues that look to be on the horizon in the legal and tax world.  There have been several major developments involving agricultural that have come through the U.S Supreme Court in recent months.  I will discuss those decisions and the implications for the future.  Several of them involve administrative law and could have a substantial impact on the ability of the federal government to micro-manage agricultural activities.  I will also get into the big tax developments of the past year, including the tax provisions included in the recent legislation that declares inflation to be reduced!

Death of a farm business owner.  After my session, Prof. Ed Morse of Creighton Law School will examine the tax issues that arise when a farm business owner dies.  Income tax basis and the impact of various entity structures will be the focus of this session along with the issues that arise upon transitioning ownership to the next generation and various tax elections.  The handling of tax attributes after death will be covered as will some non-tax planning matters when an LLC owner dies.  There are also entity-specific issues that arise when a business owner dies, and Prof. Morse will address those on an entity-by-entity basis.  The transition issue for farmers and ranchers is an important one for many.  This session will be a good one in laying out the major tax and non-tax considerations that need to be laid out up front to help the family achieve its goals post-death.

Governing documents for farm and ranch business entities.  After a morning break Dan Waters with Lamson Dugan & Murray in Omaha will take us up to lunch with a technical session on the drafting of critical documents for farm and ranch entities.  What should be included in the operative agreements?  What is the proper wording?  What provisions should be included and what should be avoided?  This session picks up on Prof. Morse’s presentation and adds in the drafting elements that are key to a successful business succession plan for the farm/ranch operation.

Fence law issues.  After a provided lunch, Colten Venteicher who practices in Gothenburg, NE, will address the issues of fence line issues when ag land changes hands.  This is an issue that seems to come up over and over again in agriculture.  The problems are numerous and varied.  This session provides a survey of applicable law and rules and practical advice for helping clients resolve existing disputes and avoid future ones. 

Farm economics.  Following the afternoon break, a presentation on the current economy and economic situation facing ag producers, ag businesses and consumers will be presented by Darrell Holaday.  Darrell is an ag economist and his firm, Advanced Market Concepts, provides marketing plans for ag producers.   What are the economic projections for the balance of 2022 and into 2023 that bear on tax and estate planning for farmers and ranchers?  How will the war in Ukraine continue to impact agriculture in the U.S.?  This will be a key session, especially with the enactment of legislation that will add fuel to the current inflationary fire – unless of course, the tax increases in the legislation slow the economy enough to offset the additional spending. 

Ethics.  I return to close out the day with a session of ethics focused on asset protection planning.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to do asset protection planning.  This session guides the practitioner through the proper approach to asset protection planning, client identification, and the pitfalls if the “stop signs” are missed.

Online.  The Summit will be broadcast live online and will be interactive to allow you the ability to participate remotely. 

Reception

For those attending in person, a reception will follow in the Harper Center Ballroom on the Creighton Campus. 

Conclusion

If your tax or legal practice involves ag clients, the Ag Law Summit is for you.  As noted, you can also attend online if you can’t be there in person.  If you are a student currently in law school or thinking about it, or are a student in accounting, you will find this seminar beneficial. 

I hope to see you in Omaha on September 30 or see that you are with us online.

You can learn more about the Summit and get registered at the following link:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/aglawsummit.html

September 11, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 5, 2022

Bibliography – January through June of 2022

Overview 

Periodically I post an article containing the links to all of my blog articles that have been recently published.  Today’s article is a bibliography of my articles from the beginning of 2022 through June.  Hopefully this will aid your research of agricultural law and tax topics.

A bibliography of articles for the first half of 2022 – it’s the content of today’s post.

Bankruptcy

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 8 and 7

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-8-and-7.html

Other Important Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/other-important-developments-in-agricultural-law-and-taxation.html

Recent Court Cases of Importance to Agricultural Producers and Rural Landowners

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/recent-court-cases-of-importance-to-agricultural-producers-and-rural-landowners.html

Business Planning

Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

Should An IDGT Be Part of Your Estate Plan?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/should-an-idgt-be-part-of-your-estate-plan.html

Farm Wealth Transfer and Business Succession – The GRAT

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/farm-wealth-transfer-and-business-succession-the-grat.html

Captive Insurance – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/captive-insurance-part-one.html

Captive Insurance – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/captive-insurance-part-two.html

Captive Insurance – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/captive-insurance-part-three.html

Pork Production Regulations; Fake Meat; and Tax Proposals on the Road to Nowhere

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/pork-production-regulations-fake-meat-and-tax-proposals-on-the-road-to-nowhere.html

Farm Economic Issues and Implications

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/farm-economic-issues-and-implications.html

Intergenerational Transfer of the Farm/Ranch Business – The Buy-Sell Agreement

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/intergenerational-transfer-of-the-farmranch-business-the-buy-sell-agreement.html

IRS Audit Issue – S Corporation Reasonable Compensation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/irs-audit-issue-s-corporation-reasonable-compensation.html

Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

Wisconsin Seminar and…ERP (not Wyatt) and ELRP

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/wisconsin-seminar-anderp-not-wyatt-and-elrp.html

S Corporation Dissolution – Part 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/s-corporation-dissolution-part-1.html

S Corporation Dissolution – Part Two; Divisive Reorganization Alternative

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/s-corporation-dissolution-part-two-divisive-reorganization-alternative.html

Farm/Ranch Tax, Estate and Business Planning Conference August 1-2 – Durango, Colorado (and Online)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/farmranch-tax-estate-and-business-planning-conference-august-1-2-durango-colorado-and-online.html

Durango Conference and Recent Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/durango-conference-and-recent-developments-in-the-courts.html

Civil Liabilities

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 8 and 7

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-8-and-7.html

Agritourism

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/agritourism.html

Animal Ag Facilities and the Constitution

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/animal-ag-facilities-and-the-constitution.html

When Is an Agricultural Activity a Nuisance?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/when-is-an-agricultural-activity-a-nuisance.html

Ag Law-Related Updates: Dog Food Scam; Oil and Gas Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/ag-law-related-updates-dog-food-scam-oil-and-gas-issues.html

Durango Conference and Recent Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/durango-conference-and-recent-developments-in-the-courts.html

Dicamba Spray-Drift Issues and the Bader Farms Litigation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/dicamba-spray-drift-issues-and-the-bader-farms-litigation.html

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

 

Contracts

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 6 and 5

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-6-and-5.html

What to Consider Before Buying Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/what-to-consider-before-buying-farmland.html

Elements of a Hunting Use Agreement

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/elements-of-a-hunting-use-agreement.html

Ag Law (and Medicaid Planning) Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/ag-law-and-medicaid-planning-court-developments-of-interest.html

Cooperatives

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

Criminal Liabilities

Animal Ag Facilities and the Constitution

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/animal-ag-facilities-and-the-constitution.html

Is Your Farm or Ranch Protected From a Warrantless Search?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/is-your-farm-or-ranch-protected-from-a-warrantless-search.html

Durango Conference and Recent Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/durango-conference-and-recent-developments-in-the-courts.html

Environmental Law

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 6 and 5

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-6-and-5.html

“Top Tan” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 2 and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-2-and-1.html

The “Almost Top Ten” (Part 3) – New Regulatory Definition of “Habitat” under the ESA

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/the-almost-top-ten-new-regulatory-definition-of-habitat-under-the-esa.html

Ag Law and Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/ag-law-and-tax-potpourri.html

Farm Economic Issues and Implications

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/farm-economic-issues-and-implications.html

Constitutional Limit on Government Agency Power – The “Major Questions” Doctrine

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/constitutional-limit-on-government-agency-power-the-major-questions-doctrine.html

Estate Planning

Other Important Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/other-important-developments-in-agricultural-law-and-taxation.html

Other Important Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation (Part 2)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/other-important-developments-in-agricultural-law-and-taxation-part-2.html

The “Almost Top Ten” (Part 4) – Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/the-almost-top-ten-part-4-tax-developments.html

The “Almost Top 10” of 2021 (Part 7) [Medicaid Recovery and Tax Deadlines]

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/the-almost-top-10-of-2021-part-7-medicaid-recovery-and-tax-deadlines.html

Nebraska Revises Inheritance Tax; and Substantiating Expenses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/recent-developments-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

Tax Consequences When Farmland is Partitioned and Sold

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/tax-consequences-when-farmland-is-partitioned-and-sold.html

Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

Should An IDGT Be Part of Your Estate Plan?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/should-an-idgt-be-part-of-your-estate-plan.html

Farm Wealth Transfer and Business Succession – The GRAT

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/farm-wealth-transfer-and-business-succession-the-grat.html

Family Settlement Agreement – Is it a Good Idea?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/family-settlement-agreement-is-it-a-good-idea.html

Registration Open for Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/registration-open-for-summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

Captive Insurance – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/captive-insurance-part-one.html

Captive Insurance – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/captive-insurance-part-two.html

Captive Insurance Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/captive-insurance-part-three.html

Pork Production Regulations; Fake Meat; and Tax Proposals on the Road to Nowhere

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/pork-production-regulations-fake-meat-and-tax-proposals-on-the-road-to-nowhere.html

Farm Economic Issues and Implications

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/farm-economic-issues-and-implications.html

Proposed Estate Tax Rules Would Protect Against Decrease in Estate Tax Exemption

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/proposed-estate-tax-rules-would-protect-against-decrease-in-estate-tax-exemption.html

Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

Ag Law (and Medicaid Planning) Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/ag-law-and-medicaid-planning-court-developments-of-interest.html

Joint Tenancy and Income Tax Basis At Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/joint-tenancy-and-income-tax-basis-at-death.html

More Ag Law Court Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/more-ag-law-court-developments.html

Farm/Ranch Tax, Estate and Business Planning Conference August 1-2 – Durango, Colorado (and Online)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/farmranch-tax-estate-and-business-planning-conference-august-1-2-durango-colorado-and-online.html

IRS Modifies Portability Election Rule

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/irs-modifies-portability-election-rule.html

Income Tax

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 10 and 9

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-10-and-9.html

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 8 and 7

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-8-and-7.html

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 2 and 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-2-and-1.html

The “Almost Top Ten” (Part 4) – Tax Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/the-almost-top-ten-part-4-tax-developments.html

The “Almost Top 10” of 2021 (Part 7) [Medicaid Recovery and Tax Deadlines]

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/the-almost-top-10-of-2021-part-7-medicaid-recovery-and-tax-deadlines.html

Purchase and Sale Allocations Involving CRP Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/purchase-and-sale-allocations-involving-crp-contracts.html

Ag Law and Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/ag-law-and-tax-potpourri.html

What’s the Character of the Gain From the Sale of Farm or Ranch Land?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/whats-the-character-of-the-gain-from-the-sale-of-farm-or-ranch-land.html

Proper Tax Reporting of Breeding Fees for Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/proper-tax-reporting-of-breeding-fees-for-farmers.html

Nebraska Revises Inheritance Tax; and Substantiating Expenses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/recent-developments-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

Tax Consequences When Farmland is Partitioned and Sold

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/tax-consequences-when-farmland-is-partitioned-and-sold.html

Expense Method Depreciation and Leasing- A Potential Trap

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/expense-method-depreciation-and-leasing-a-potential-trap.html

Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

income Tax Deferral of Crop Insurance Proceeds

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/income-tax-deferral-of-crop-insurance-proceeds.html

What if Tax Rates Rise?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/what-if-tax-rates-rise.html

Registration Open for Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/registration-open-for-summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

Captive Insurance – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/captive-insurance-part-one.html

Captive Insurance – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/captive-insurance-part-two.html

Captive Insurance – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/captive-insurance-part-three.html

Pork Production Regulations; Fake Meat; and Tax Proposals on the Road to Nowhere

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/pork-production-regulations-fake-meat-and-tax-proposals-on-the-road-to-nowhere.html

Farm Economic Issues and Implications

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/farm-economic-issues-and-implications.html

IRS Audit Issue – S Corporation Reasonable Compensation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/irs-audit-issue-s-corporation-reasonable-compensation.html

Missed Tax Deadline & Equitable Tolling

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/missed-tax-deadline-equitable-tolling.html

Summer 2022 Farm Income Tax/Estate and Business Planning Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/summer-2022-farm-income-taxestate-and-business-planning-conferences.html

Joint Tenancy and Income Tax Basis At Death

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/joint-tenancy-and-income-tax-basis-at-death.html

Tax Court Caselaw Update

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/tax-court-caselaw-update.html

Deducting Soil and Water Conservation Expenses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/deducting-soil-and-water-conservation-expenses.html

Correcting Depreciation Errors (Including Bonus Elections and Computations)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/correcting-depreciation-errors-including-bonus-elections-and-computations.html

When Can Business Deductions First Be Claimed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/when-can-business-deductions-first-be-claimed.html

Recent Court Decisions Involving Taxes and Real Estate

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/recent-court-decisions-involving-taxes-and-real-estate.html

Wisconsin Seminar and…ERP (not Wyatt) and ELRP

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/wisconsin-seminar-anderp-not-wyatt-and-elrp.html

Tax Issues with Customer Loyalty Reward Programs

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/tax-issues-with-customer-loyalty-reward-programs.html

S Corporation Dissolution – Part 1

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/s-corporation-dissolution-part-1.html

S Corporation Dissolution – Part Two; Divisive Reorganization Alternative

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/s-corporation-dissolution-part-two-divisive-reorganization-alternative.html

Farm/Ranch Tax, Estate and Business Planning Conference August 1-2 – Durango, Colorado (and Online)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/farmranch-tax-estate-and-business-planning-conference-august-1-2-durango-colorado-and-online.html

What is the Character of Land Sale Gain?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/what-is-the-character-of-land-sale-gain.html

Deductible Start-Up Costs and Web-Based Businesses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/deductible-start-up-costs-and-web-based-businesses.html

Using Farm Income Averaging to Deal with Economic Uncertainty and Resulting Income Fluctuations

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/using-farm-income-averaging-to-deal-with-economic-uncertainty-and-resulting-income-fluctuations.html

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

Insurance

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

Real Property

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 4 and 3

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-4-and-3.html

Ag Law and Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/ag-law-and-tax-potpourri.html

What to Consider Before Buying Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/what-to-consider-before-buying-farmland.html

Elements of a Hunting Use Agreement

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/elements-of-a-hunting-use-agreement.html

Animal Ag Facilities and the Constitution

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/animal-ag-facilities-and-the-constitution.html

Recent Court Decisions Involving Taxes and Real Estate

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/recent-court-decisions-involving-taxes-and-real-estate.html

Recent Court Cases of Importance to Agricultural Producers and Rural Landowners

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/recent-court-cases-of-importance-to-agricultural-producers-and-rural-landowners.html

More Ag Law Court Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/more-ag-law-court-developments.html

Ag Law-Related Updates: Dog Food Scam; Oil and Gas Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/ag-law-related-updates-dog-food-scam-oil-and-gas-issues.html

Tax Deal Struck? – and Recent Ag-Related Cases

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/tax-deal-struck-and-recent-ag-related-cases.html

Regulatory Law

The “Almost Top 10” of 2021 (Part 5)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/the-almost-top-10-of-2021-part-5.html

The “Almost Top 10” of 2021 (Part 6)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/the-almost-top-10-of-2021-part-6.html

Ag Law and Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/02/ag-law-and-tax-potpourri.html

Animal Ag Facilities and the Constitution

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/03/animal-ag-facilities-and-the-constitution.html

Pork Production Regulations; Fake Meat; and Tax Proposals on the Road to Nowhere

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/pork-production-regulations-fake-meat-and-tax-proposals-on-the-road-to-nowhere.html

Farm Economic Issues and Implications

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/04/farm-economic-issues-and-implications.html

Ag Law (and Medicaid Planning) Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/05/ag-law-and-medicaid-planning-court-developments-of-interest.html

Wisconsin Seminar and…ERP (not Wyatt) and ELRP

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/wisconsin-seminar-anderp-not-wyatt-and-elrp.html

More Ag Law Court Developments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/more-ag-law-court-developments.html

Ag Law-Related Updates: Dog Food Scam; Oil and Gas Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/06/ag-law-related-updates-dog-food-scam-oil-and-gas-issues.html

Constitutional Limit on Government Agency Power – The “Major Questions” Doctrine

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/constitutional-limit-on-government-agency-power-the-major-questions-doctrine.html

The Complexities of Crop Insurance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/the-complexities-of-crop-insurance.html

Secured Transactions

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 6 and 5

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-6-and-5.html

Water Law

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 4 and 3

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/01/top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2021-numbers-4-and-3.html

Durango Conference and Recent Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2022/07/durango-conference-and-recent-developments-in-the-courts.html

September 5, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Ag Law Summit

Overview

Last September Washburn Law School conducted it’s first “Ag Law Summit” and held it at Mahoney State Park in Nebraska. This year the Summit returns in collaboration with Creighton University School of Law.  The Summit will be held at Creighton University on September 30, and will also be broadcast live online.

The Summit will cover various topics of relevance to agricultural producers and the tax and legal counsel that represent them. 

The 2022 Ag Law Summit – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Agenda

Survey of ag law and tax.  I will start off the day with a session surveying the major recent ag law and tax developments.  This one-hour session will update attendees on the big issues facing ag clients and provide insight concerning the issues that look to be on the horizon in the legal and tax world. 

Tax issues upon death of a farmer.  After my session, Prof. Ed Morse of Creighton Law School will examine the tax issues that arise when a farm business owner dies.  Income tax basis and the impact of various entity structures will be the focus of this session along with the issues that arise upon transitioning ownership to the next generation and various tax elections.

Farm succession planning drafting language.  After a morning break Dan Waters, and estate planning attorney in Omaha, NE, will take us up to lunch with a technical session on the drafting of critical documents for farm and ranch entities.  What should be included in the operative agreements?  What is the proper wording?  What provisions should be included and what should be avoided?  This session picks up on Prof. Morse’s presentation and adds in the drafting elements that are key to a successful business succession plan for the farm/ranch operation.

Fences and boundaries.  After a provided lunch, Colten Venteicher who practices in Gothenburg, NE, will address the issues of fence line issues when ag land changes hands.  This is an issue that seems to come up over and over again in agriculture.  The problems are numerous and varied.  This session provides a survey of applicable law and rules and practical advice for helping clients resolve existing disputes and avoid future ones. 

The current farm economy and future projections.  Following the afternoon break, a presentation on the current economy and economic situation facing ag producers, ag businesses and consumers will be presented by Darrell Holaday.  Darrell is an economist and his firm, Advanced Market Concepts, provides marketing plans for ag producers.   What are the economic projections for the balance of 2022 and into 2023 that bear on tax and estate planning for farmers and ranchers?  This will be a key session, especially with the enactment of legislation that will add fuel to the current inflationary fire – unless of course, the tax increases in the legislation slow the economy enough to offset the additional spending. 

Ethics.  I return to close out the day with a session of ethics focused on asset protection planning.  There’s a right way and a wrong way to do asset protection planning.  This session guides the practitioner through the proper approach to asset protection planning, client identification, and the pitfalls if the “stop signs” are missed.

Reception

For those attending in person, a reception will follow in the Harper Center Ballroom on the Creighton Campus. 

Conclusion

If your tax or legal practice involves ag clients, the Ag Law Summit is for you.  As noted, you can also attend online if you can’t be there in person.  If you are a student currently in law school or thinking about it, or are a student in accounting, you will find this seminar beneficial. 

I hope to see you in Omaha on September 30 or see that you are with us online.

You can learn more about the Summit and get registered at the following link:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/aglawsummit.html

August 20, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Recent Court Cases of Importance to Agricultural Producers and Rural Landowners

Overview

Farmers, ranchers and other rural landowners face many legal and tax issues on a daily basis.  The type of legal issues varies, and some are cyclical.  Others seem to repeat over and over.  In today’s article I discuss two cases from Kansas that illustrate some of the issues that seem to come up frequently with respect to real estate, and one that arises on a cyclical basis. 

Various legal issues associated with agricultural production and rural landownership – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Common Issues Involving Ag Real Estate

Removal of Vegetation Within Easement Proper

Presnell v. Cullen, 2022 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 250 (Kan. Ct. App. May 6, 2022)

Farm and ranch land is often burdened by easements.  Energy-related easements are common in rural areas as are access easements to a landlocked field or home.  One common question is what activities are permissible in the easement area by the easement holder?  Without clear specification in the written easement agreement, the rule is one of reasonability.  That means that the easement holder can use the easement for the purpose(s) for which it was acquired and other associated purposes, within reason. 

In this case, the plaintiff owned land subject to a railroad easement. The Central Kansas Conservancy (Conservancy) acquired the easement from a railroad under the National Trails System Act for the purpose of developing a recreational trail.  The plaintiff sued claiming that the Conservancy did not have a right to cut down vegetation located within the easement.  The trial court disagreed and awarded the Conservancy legal fees.  On appeal, the plaintiff claimed that the Conservancy had a duty to protect and preserve the trees in the easement area, only needed to use 10 to 14 feet of the 66-foot easement, did not control the entire width of the easement, and had actually abandoned the easement. 

The appellate court disagreed, finding that the Conservancy had a right to use the railroad corridor to develop and maintain the trail based either based on title ownership or via the easement.  Thus, the Conservancy was entitled to remove the vegetation, but only to the extent necessary for developing and maintaining the trail.  The appellate court also rejected the plaintiff’s trespass claim.  The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s award of attorney's fees under K.S.A. §61-2709(a). 

Note:  The case points out that reasonable use of the easement is the key when the easement agreement is silent.  Here, the Conservancy could remove vegetation, but only if the removal was related to the trail.  The landowner’s other trees and vegetation were to be left untouched. 

Farmland Adversely Possessed, But No Prescriptive Easement. 

Pyle v. Gall, No. 123,823, 2022 Kan. App. Unpub. LEXIS 242 (Kan. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 2022)

Adverse possession has its origin in the English common law.  It’s a concept whereby someone who knows that they don’t have legal title to land can gain title by possessing the land long enough without the owner’s permission.  There are various elements to adverse possession that have been added over time, but basically if someone openly and knowingly takes possession of someone else’s land and does so for a long enough period of time set by state law, that person can end up the owner of the land via a quiet title action if the true owner knows of the possession and doesn’t do anything within the statutory timeframe to stop it. 

Adverse possession was at issue in this case. 

The parties disputed the location of the property line between their tracts.  The plaintiff routinely planted crops up to what the plaintiff believed to be the property line, but that planting interfered with the crop farming plans of the defendant’s tenant.  The plaintiff also regularly used a portion of the defendant’s field as a road to access the plaintiff’s crops.  In 2015, the defendant offered to sell the disputed area to the plaintiff and told the plaintiff to stop accessing the plaintiff’s crops via the defendant’s field.  Each party hired surveyors, but the surveyors reached different conclusions as to the property line. In March of 2016, the defendant built a fence based on the property line that the defendant’s surveyor found, which was 17 feet beyond what the plaintiff believed to be the property line. In March 2017, the plaintiff sued to quiet title to the field up to the crop line they farmed to by adverse possession and sought either a prescriptive easement or easement by necessity.  The trial court held that the plaintiff had adversely possessed the land in dispute and had acquired a prescriptive easement across the defendant’s property. 

On appeal, the appellate court upheld the trial court’s determination that the plaintiff had acquired the strip in question by adverse possession.  The plaintiff had used the property for the statutory timeframe in an open, exclusive and continuous manner upon belief of true ownership.  Use by others for recreational purposes, the appellate court reasoned, did not negate the exclusivity requirement because the use was infrequent compared to the plaintiff’s farming activity on the disputed land.  However, the appellate court reversed the trial court on the prescriptive easement issue because both the plaintiff and the defendant used the alleged area on which a prescriptive easement was being asserted.  Thus, the plaintiff had not used the easement exclusively.  The appellate court remanded to the trial court the issue of whether an easement by necessity had arisen because the trial court had not considered the issue. 

Note:  Exclusivity is a key element of an adverse possession/prescriptive easement claim

Farm Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a cyclical.  With the significant downturn in the economy driven largely by incomprehensible energy policy, it is looking as if 2023 will be an even tougher year for many parts of the agricultural sector.  Existing operating loans will be renewed at higher interest rates, and this year’s inputs that were prepaid before major price increases may not work to avoid price increases next year.  Thus, farm bankruptcies and foreclosures may tick up in 2023. 

One of the key points of a farm bankruptcy is that a reorganization plan must be file in a timely manner and in good faith.  A debtor cannot act in bad faith towards creditors.

The following case makes the points, and also points out that a farm bankruptcy requires planning as well as a plan. 

Chapter 12 Case Dismissed for Unreasonable Delays

In re Bradshaw, No. 20-40948-12, 2022 Bankr. LEXIS 1424 (Bankr. D. Kan. May 19, 2022) 

The debtor filed Chapter 12 bankruptcy in late 2020 but failed to file a confirmable plan for 18 months. The debtor also failed to meet many other Chapter 12 requirements.  As a result, the Chapter 12 Trustee filed a motion to dismiss the case under 11 U.S.C. § 1208(c) which allows a case to be dismissed for the debtor’s unreasonable delay or gross mismanagement.  Before the court, the Trustee pointed to the debtor’s failure to file a plan in a timely fashion, denial of plan confirmation, continuous loss to the bankruptcy estate and absence of a reasonable likelihood of rehabilitation. The Trustee also noted that the debtor did not file taxes in 2016, 2017, or 2018 and the returns filed in 2019 and 2020 were insufficient. The debtor did not consistently file monthly operating reports and the debtor’s proposed plan did not meet basic bankruptcy code requirements. 

The court also noted that the Trustee had no way of monitoring the debtor’s case properly because the debtor only filed three of eighteen monthly reports. Without monthly operating reports, it was impossible to determine if the estate could be rehabilitated. The debtor also had no income from farming operations with no prospect of an improved financial situation.  The debtor also gambled with estate property and failed to account for, liquidate, or preserve estate property. The bankruptcy estate was uninsured, and the debtor had abandoned it.  The court concluded that this amounted to the debtor’s gross mismanagement of the estate. The court noted that the debtor had ninety days to file a plan and after eighteen months and had not done so. While the debtor proposed one plan in April of 2021, it was denied, and no amended plan was submitted. This constituted an unreasonable delay and prejudice to creditors. The court granted the Trustee’s motion to dismiss the case. 

Note:   Don’t simply file Chapter 12 without an idea of where you are headed with your farming/ranching operation.  Chapter 12 is designed for farmers that intend on continuing in farming after restricting the business to make it viable into the future.  It’s not for those that don’t have a plan for the business into the future.

June 9, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Real Property | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 22, 2022

2021 Bibliography

Overview

In the past, I have posted bibliographies of my articles by year to help readers researching the various ag tax and ag law topics that I write about.  The blog articles are piling up, with more 750 available for you to read and use for your research for clients (and yourself).  The citations contained in the articles are linked so that you can go directly to the source.  I trust that you find that feature helpful to save you time (and money) in representing clients.

Today, I provide you with the bibliography of my 2021 articles (by topic) as well as the links to the prior blogs containing past years.  Many thanks to my research assistant, Kennedy Mayo, for pulling this together for me.

Prior Years

Here are the links to the bibliographies from prior years:

Ag Law and Taxation 2020 Bibliography

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/ag-law-and-taxation-2020-bibliography.html

Ag Law and Taxation – 2019 Bibliography

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/ag-law-and-taxation-2019-bibliography.html

Ag Law and Taxation – 2018 Bibliography

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/ag-law-and-taxation-2018-bibliography.html

Ag Law and Taxation – 2017 Bibliography

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/ag-law-and-taxation-2017-bibliography.html

Ag Law and Taxation – 2016 Bibliography

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/ag-law-and-taxation-2016-bibliography.html

 

2021 Bibliography

Below are the links to my 2021 articles, by category:

BANKRUPTCY

The “Almost Tope Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

What’s an “Asset” For Purposes of a Debtor’s Insolvency Computation?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/whats-an-asset-for-purposes-of-a-debtors-insolvency-computation.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

Is a Tax Refund Exempt in Bankruptcy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/is-a-tax-refund-exempt-in-bankruptcy.html

Ag Law and Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/ag-law-and-tax-potpourri.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

Farm Bankruptcy – “Stripping,” “Claw-Back” and the Tax Collecting Authorities (Update)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/farm-bankruptcy-stripping-claw-back-and-the-tax-collecting-authorities-update.html

BUSINESS PLANNING

For Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Recent Happenings in Ag Law and Ag Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/recent-happenings-in-ag-law-and-ag-tax.html

C Corporate Tax Planning; Management Fees and Reasonable Compensation – A Roadmap of What Not to Do

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/c-corporate-tax-planning-management-fees-and-reasonable-compensation-a-roadmap-of-what-not-to-do.html

Will the Estate Tax Valuation Regulations Return?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/will-the-estate-tax-valuation-regulations-return.html

June National Farm Tax and Estate/Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/june-national-farm-tax-and-estatebusiness-planning-conference.html

August National Farm Tax and Estate/Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/august-national-farm-tax-and-estatebusiness-planning-conference.html

C Corporation Compensation Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/c-corporation-compensation-issues.html

Planning for Changes to the Federal Estate and Gift Tax System

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/planning-for-changes-to-the-federal-estate-and-gift-tax-system.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

The “Mis” STEP Act – What it Means To Your Estate and Income Tax Plan

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-mis-step-act-what-it-means-to-your-estate-and-income-tax-plan.html

Intergenerational Transfer of Family Businesses with Split-Dollar Life Insurance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/intergenerational-transfer-of-family-businesses-with-split-dollar-life-insurance.html

Ohio Conference -June 7-8 (Ag Economics) What’s Going On in the Ag Economy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/ohio-conference-june-7-8-ag-economics-whats-going-on-in-the-ag-economy.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

Farm Valuation Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/farm-valuation-issues.html

Ag Law Summit

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/ag-law-summit.html

The Illiquidity Problem of Farm and Ranch Estates

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/the-illiquidity-problem-of-farm-and-ranch-estates.html

When Does a Partnership Exist?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/when-does-a-partnership-exist.html

Gifting Assets Pre-Death – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/gifting-assets-pre-death-part-one.html

Gifting Assets Pre-Death (Entity Interests) – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/gifting-assets-pre-death-entity-interests-part-two.html

Gifting Pre-Death (Partnership Interests) – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/gifting-pre-death-partnership-interests-part-three.html

The Future of Ag Tax Policy – Where Is It Headed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/the-future-of-ag-tax-policy-where-is-it-headed.html

Estate Planning to Protect Assets From Creditors – Dancing On the Line Between Legitimacy and Fraud

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/estate-planning-to-protect-assets-from-creditors-dancing-on-the-line-between-legitimacy-and-fraud.html

Fall 2021 Seminars

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/fall-2021-seminars.html

Corporate-Owned Life Insurance – Impact on Corporate Value and Shareholder’s Estate

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/corporate-owned-life-insurance-impact-on-corporate-value-and-shareholders-estate-.html

Caselaw Update

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/caselaw-update.html

S Corporations – Reasonable Compensation; Non-Wage Distributions and a Legislative Proposal

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/s-corporations-reasonable-compensation-non-wage-distributions-and-a-legislative-proposal.html

2022 Summer Conferences – Save the Date

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/2022-summer-conferences-save-the-date.html

CIVIL LIABILITIES

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020.html

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-three.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2020-part-three.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Prescribed Burning Legal Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/prescribed-burning-legal-issues.html

Damaged and/or Destroyed Trees and Crops – How is the Loss Measured?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/damaged-andor-destroyed-trees-and-crops-how-is-the-loss-measured.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

Mailboxes and Farm Equipment

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/mailboxes-and-farm-equipment.html

Statutory Immunity From Liability Associated With Horse-Related Activities

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/statutory-immunity-from-liability-associated-with-horse-related-activities.html

CONTRACTS

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-three.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Deed Reformation – Correcting Mistakes After the Fact

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/deed-reformation-correcting-mistakes-after-the-fact.html

Considerations When Buying Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/considerations-when-buying-farmland.html

Recent Court Decisions of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/recent-court-decisions-of-interest.html

The Potential Peril Associated With Deferred Payment Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/the-potential-peril-associated-with-deferred-payment-contracts.html

COOPERATIVES

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Final Ag/Horticultural Cooperative QBI Regulations Issued

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

CRIMINAL LIABILITIES

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

Estate Planning to Protect Assets From Creditors – Dancing On the Line Between Legitimacy and Fraud

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/estate-planning-to-protect-assets-from-creditors-dancing-on-the-line-between-legitimacy-and-fraud.html

Recent Court Decisions of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/recent-court-decisions-of-interest.html

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Recent Happenings in Ag Law and Ag Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/recent-happenings-in-ag-law-and-ag-tax.html

Court and IRS Happenings in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/court-happenings-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

Valuing Ag Real Estate With Environmental Concerns

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/federal-estate-tax-value-of-ag-real-estate-with-environmental-concerns.html

Ag Law and Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/ag-law-and-tax-potpourri.html

No Expansion of Public Trust Doctrine in Iowa – Big Implications for Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/no-expansion-of-public-trust-doctrine-in-iowa-big-implications-for-agriculture.html

Key “Takings” Decision from SCOTUS Involving Ag Businesses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/key-takings-decision-from-scotus-involving-ag-businesses.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

Navigable Waters Protection Rule – What’s Going on with WOTUS?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/navigable-waters-protection-rule-whats-going-on-with-wotus.html

ESTATE PLANNING

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-two.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

What Now? – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/what-now-part-two.html

Will the Estate Tax Valuation Regulations Return?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/will-the-estate-tax-valuation-regulations-return.html

June National Farm and Tax and Estate/Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/june-national-farm-tax-and-estatebusiness-planning-conference.html

August National Farm Tax and Estate/Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/august-national-farm-tax-and-estatebusiness-planning-conference.html

Farmland in an Estate – Special Use Valuation and the 25 Percent Test

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/farmland-in-an-estate-special-use-valuation-and-the-25-percent-test.html

The Revocable Living Trust – Is it For You?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/the-revocable-living-trust-is-it-for-you.html

Summer Conferences – NASBA Certification! (and Some Really Big Estate Planning Issues – Including Basis)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/summer-conferences-nasba-certification-and-some-really-big-estate-planning-issues-including-basis.html

Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/court-developments-of-interest.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

Planning for Changes to the Federal Estate and Gift Tax System

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/planning-for-changes-to-the-federal-estate-and-gift-tax-system.html

The “Mis” STEP Act – What it Means To Your Estate and Income Tax Plan

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-mis-step-act-what-it-means-to-your-estate-and-income-tax-plan.html

The Revocable Trust – What Happens When the Grantor Dies?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-revocable-trust-what-happens-when-the-grantor-dies.html

Intergenerational Transfer of Family Businesses with Split-Dollar Life Insurance

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/intergenerational-transfer-of-family-businesses-with-split-dollar-life-insurance.html

Ohio Conference –June 7-8 (Ag Economics) What’s Going On in the Ag Economy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/ohio-conference-june-7-8-ag-economics-whats-going-on-in-the-ag-economy.html

Reimbursement Claims in Estates; Drainage District Assessments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/reimbursement-claims-in-estates-drainage-district-assessments.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

Farm Valuation Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/farm-valuation-issues.html

Ag Law Summit

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/ag-law-summit.html

The Illiquidity Problem of Farm and Ranch Estates

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/the-illiquidity-problem-of-farm-and-ranch-estates.html

Planning to Avoid Elder Abuse

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/planning-to-avoid-elder-abuse.html

Gifting Assets Pre-Death – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/gifting-assets-pre-death-part-one.html

Gifting Assets Pre-Death (Entity Interests) – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/gifting-assets-pre-death-entity-interests-part-two.html

The Future of Ag Tax Policy – Where Is It Headed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/the-future-of-ag-tax-policy-where-is-it-headed.html

Estate Planning to Protect Assets From Creditors – Dancing On the Line Between Legitimacy and Fraud

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/estate-planning-to-protect-assets-from-creditors-dancing-on-the-line-between-legitimacy-and-fraud.html

Tax Happenings – Present Status of Proposed Legislation (and What You Might Do About It)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/tax-happenings-present-status-of-proposed-legislation-and-what-you-might-do-about-it.html

Corporate-Owned Life Insurance – Impact on Corporate Value and Shareholder’s Estate

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/corporate-owned-life-insurance-impact-on-corporate-value-and-shareholders-estate-.html

Tax (and Estate Planning) Happenings

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/tax-and-estate-planning-happenings.html

Selected Tax Provisions of House Bill No. 5376 – and Economic Implications

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/selected-tax-provisions-of-house-bill-no-5376-and-economic-implications.html

2022 Summer Conferences – Save the Date

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/2022-summer-conferences-save-the-date.html

INCOME TAX

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-two.html

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-one.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Four

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2020-part-four.html

Final Ag/Horticultural Cooperative QBI Regulations Issued

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/final-aghorticultural-cooperative-qbi-regulations-issued.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Recent Happenings in Ag Law and Ag Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/recent-happenings-in-ag-law-and-ag-tax.html

Deducting Start-Up Costs – When Does the Business Activity Begin?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/deducting-start-up-costs-when-does-the-business-activity-begin.html

What Now? – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/what-now-part-one.html

C Corporate Tax Planning; Management Fees and Reasonable Compensation – A Roadmap of What Not to Do

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/c-corporate-tax-planning-management-fees-and-reasonable-compensation-a-roadmap-of-what-not-to-do.html

Where’s the Line Between Start-Up Expenses, the Conduct of a Trade or Business and Profit Motive?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/wheres-the-line-between-start-up-expenses-the-conduct-of-a-trade-or-business-and-profit-motive.html

June National Farm Tax and Estate/Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/june-national-farm-tax-and-estatebusiness-planning-conference.html

Selling Farm Business Assets – Special Tax Treatment (Part One)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/selling-farm-business-assets-special-tax-treatment-part-one.html

Tax Update Webinar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/tax-update-webinar.html

Selling Farm Business Assets – Special Tax Treatment (Part Two)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/selling-farm-business-assets-special-tax-treatment-part-two.html

Selling Farm Business Assets – Special Tax Treatment (Part Three)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/selling-farm-business-assets-special-tax-treatment-part-three.html

August National Farm Tax and Estate/Business Planning Conference

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/august-national-farm-tax-and-estatebusiness-planning-conference.html

Court and IRS Happenings in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/court-happenings-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

C Corporation Compensation Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/c-corporation-compensation-issues.html

Tax Considerations When Leasing Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/tax-considerations-when-leasing-farmland.html

Federal Farm Programs and the AGI Computation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/federal-farm-programs-and-the-agi-computation.html

Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/tax-potpourri.html

What’s an “Asset” For Purposes of a Debtor’s Insolvency Computation?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/whats-an-asset-for-purposes-of-a-debtors-insolvency-computation.html

Summer Conferences – NASBA Certification! (and Some Really Big Estate Planning Issues – Including Basis)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/summer-conferences-nasba-certification-and-some-really-big-estate-planning-issues-including-basis.html

Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/court-developments-of-interest.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

The “Mis” STEP Act – What it Means To Your Estate and Income Tax Plan

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-mis-step-act-what-it-means-to-your-estate-and-income-tax-plan.html

The Revocable Trust – What Happens When the Grantor Dies?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-revocable-trust-what-happens-when-the-grantor-dies.html

Ohio Conference -June 7-8 (Ag Economics) What’s Going On in the Ag Economy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/ohio-conference-june-7-8-ag-economics-whats-going-on-in-the-ag-economy.html

What’s the “Beef” With Conservation Easements?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/whats-the-beef-with-conservation-easements.html

Is a Tax Refund Exempt in Bankruptcy?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/is-a-tax-refund-exempt-in-bankruptcy.html

Tax Court Happenings

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/tax-court-happenings.html

IRS Guidance On Farms NOLs

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/irs-guidance-on-farm-nols.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

Tax Developments in the Courts – The “Tax Home”; Sale of the Home; and Gambling Deductions

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/tax-developments-in-the-courts-the-tax-home-sale-of-the-home-and-gambling-deductions.html

Recovering Costs in Tax Litigation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/recovering-costs-in-tax-litigation.html

Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/tax-potpourri.html

Weather-Related Sales of Livestock

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/weather-related-sales-of-livestock.html

Ag Law Summit

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/ag-law-summit.html

Livestock Confinement Buildings and S.E. Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/livestock-confinement-buildings-and-se-tax.html

When Does a Partnership Exist?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/when-does-a-partnership-exist.html

Recent Tax Developments in the Courts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/recent-tax-developments-in-the-courts.html

Gifting Assets Pre-Death – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/gifting-assets-pre-death-part-one.html

Gifting Pre-Death (Partnership Interests) – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/gifting-pre-death-partnership-interests-part-three.html

The Future of Ag Tax Policy – Where Is It Headed?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/the-future-of-ag-tax-policy-where-is-it-headed.html

Tax Happenings – Present Statute of Proposed Legislation (and What You Might Do About It)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/tax-happenings-present-status-of-proposed-legislation-and-what-you-might-do-about-it.html

Fall 2021 Seminars

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/fall-2021-seminars.html

Extended Livestock Replacement Period Applies in Areas of Extended Drought – IRS Updated Drought Areas

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/09/extended-livestock-replacement-period-applies-in-areas-of-extended-drought-irs-updated-drought-areas.html

Farm Bankruptcy – “Stripping,” “Claw-Back” and the Tax Collecting Authorities (Update)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/farm-bankruptcy-stripping-claw-back-and-the-tax-collecting-authorities-update.html

Caselaw Update

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/caselaw-update.html

Tax Issues Associated With Easements

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/tax-issues-associated-with-easements.html

S Corporations – Reasonable Compensation; Non-Wage Distributions and a Legislative Proposal

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/s-corporations-reasonable-compensation-non-wage-distributions-and-a-legislative-proposal.html

Tax Reporting of Sale Transactions By Farmers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/tax-reporting-of-sale-transactions-by-farmers.html

The Tax Rules Involving Prepaid Farm Expenses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/the-tax-rules-involving-prepaid-farm-expenses.html

Self Employment Taxation of CRP Rents – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/self-employment-taxation-of-crp-rents-part-one.html

Self-Employment Taxation of CRP Rents – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/self-employment-taxation-of-crp-rents-part-two.html

Self-Employment Taxation of CRP Rents – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/self-employment-taxation-of-crp-rents-part-three.html

Recent IRS Guidance, Tax Legislation and Tax Ethics Seminar/Webinar

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/recent-irs-guidance-tax-legislation-and-tax-ethics-seminarwebinar.html

Tax (and Estate Planning) Happenings

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/tax-and-estate-planning-happenings.html

Selected Tax Provisions of House Bill No. 5376 – and Economic Implications

 https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/selected-tax-provisions-of-house-bill-no-5376-and-economic-implications.html

Recent Court Decisions of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/recent-court-decisions-of-interest.html

The Potential Peril Associated With Deferred Payment Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/the-potential-peril-associated-with-deferred-payment-contracts.html

Inland Hurricane – 2021 Version; Is There Any Tax Benefit to Demolishing Farm Buildings and Structures?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/inland-hurricane-2021-version-is-there-any-tax-benefit-to-demolishing-farm-buildings-and-structures.html

2022 Summer Conferences – Save the Date

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/2022-summer-conferences-save-the-date.html

The Home Sale Exclusion Rule – How Does it Work When Land is Also Sold?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/the-home-sale-exclusion-rule-how-does-it-work-when-land-is-also-sold.html

Gifting Ag Commodities To Children

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/gifting-ag-commodities-to-children.html

Livestock Indemnity Payments – What Are They? What Are the Tax Reporting Options?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/livestock-indemnity-payments-what-are-they-what-are-the-tax-reporting-options.html

Commodity Credit Corporation Loans and Elections

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/commodity-credit-corporation-loans-and-elections.html

INSURANCE

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

REAL PROPERTY

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-three.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Prescribed Burning Legal Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/prescribed-burning-legal-issues.html

Ag Zoning Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/ag-zoning-potpourri.html

Court and IRS Happenings in Ag Law and Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/court-happenings-in-ag-law-and-tax.html

Is That Old Fence Really the Boundary

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/is-that-old-fence-really-the-boundary.html

Court Developments of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/court-developments-of-interest.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

Deed Reformation – Correcting Mistakes After the Fact

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/deed-reformation-correcting-mistakes-after-the-fact.html

Valuing Ag Real Estate With Environmental Concerns

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/federal-estate-tax-value-of-ag-real-estate-with-environmental-concerns.html

Ag Law and Tax Potpourri

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/ag-law-and-tax-potpourri.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

Farm Valuation Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/farm-valuation-issues.html

Considerations When Buying Farmland

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/11/considerations-when-buying-farmland.html

The Home Sale Exclusion Rule – How Does it Work When Land is Also Sold?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/the-home-sale-exclusion-rule-how-does-it-work-when-land-is-also-sold.html

REGULATORY LAW

The “Almost Top Ten” Ag Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-almost-top-ten-ag-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-two.html

 The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Ag Tax Developments of 2020 – Part One

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-ag-tax-developments-of-2020-part-one.html

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Two

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2020-part-two.html

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Four

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2020-part-four.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Recent Happenings in Ag Law and Ag Tax

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/recent-happenings-in-ag-law-and-ag-tax.html

Prescribed Burning Legal Issues

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/prescribed-burning-legal-issues.html

Packers and Stockyards Act Amended – Additional Protection for Unpaid Cash Sellers of Livestock

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/02/packers-and-stockyards-act-amended-additional-protection-for-unpaid-cash-sellers-of-livestock.html

Federal Farm Programs and the AGI Computation

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/federal-farm-programs-and-the-agi-computation.html

Regulation of Agriculture – Food Products, Slaughterhouse Line Speeds and CAFOS

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/04/regulation-of-agriculture-food-products-slaughterhouse-line-speeds-and-cafos.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

The FLSA and Ag’s Exemption From Paying Overtime Wages

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/the-flsa-and-ags-exemption-from-paying-overtime-wages.html

The “Dormant” Commerce Clause and Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/the-dormant-commerce-clause-and-agriculture.html

Trouble with ARPA

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/trouble-with-arpa.html

No Expansion of Public Trust Doctrine in Iowa – Big Implications for Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/no-expansion-of-public-trust-doctrine-in-iowa-big-implications-for-agriculture.html

Key “Takings Decision from SCOTUS Involving Ag Businesses

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/06/key-takings-decision-from-scotus-involving-ag-businesses.html

Reimbursement Claims in Estates; Drainage District Assessments

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/reimbursement-claims-in-estates-drainage-district-assessments.html

Mailboxes and Farm Equipment

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/mailboxes-and-farm-equipment.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

California’s Regulation of U.S. Agriculture

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/californias-regulation-of-us-agriculture.html

Checkoffs and Government Speech – The Merry-Go-Round Revolves Again

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/checkoffs-and-government-speech-the-merry-go-round-revolves-again.html

Is There a Constitutional Way To Protect Animal Ag Facilities

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/08/is-there-a-constitutional-way-to-protect-animal-ag-facilities.html

Caselaw Update

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/10/caselaw-update.html

Recent Court Decisions of Interest

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/recent-court-decisions-of-interest.html

Livestock Indemnity Payments – What Are They? What Are the Tax Reporting Options?

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/livestock-indemnity-payments-what-are-they-what-are-the-tax-reporting-options.html

SECURED TRANSACTIONS

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

Cross-Collateralization Clauses – Tough Lessons For Lenders

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/03/cross-collateralization-clauses-tough-lessons-for-lenders.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

The “EIDL Trap” For Farm Borrowers

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/the-eidl-trap-for-farm-borrowers.html

The Potential Peril Associated With Deferred Payment Contracts

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/12/the-potential-peril-associated-with-deferred-payment-contracts.html

WATER LAW

Continuing Education Events and Summer Conferences

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/continuing-education-events-and-summer-conferences.html

The “Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2020 – Part Three

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/the-top-ten-agricultural-law-and-tax-developments-of-2020-part-three.html

Agricultural Law Online!

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/01/agricultural-law-online.html

The Agricultural Law and Tax Report

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/05/the-agricultural-law-and-tax-report.html

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2021/07/montana-conference-and-ag-law-summit-nebraska.html

May 22, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Civil Liabilities, Contracts, Cooperatives, Criminal Liabilities, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Insurance, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Secured Transactions, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Other Important Developments in Agricultural Law and Taxation

Overview

I recently concluded a five-part series on what I viewed as the “Top Ten” agricultural law and agricultural tax developments of 2021.  There were many “happenings” in ag law and tax in 2021 which meant that there were still some significant developments that didn’t make the “Top Ten.”  In today’s post I start discussing some of those.  This will also be a multi-part series, and the developments are in no particular order.

The “Almost Top 10” of 2021, the first article in a series – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Bankruptcy Trustee Cannot Retain Fee

In re Doll, No. 21-cv-00731-RBJ, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 232612 (D. Colo. Dec. 6, 2021)

The debtor filed Chapter 13 in late 2017, and failed to get the bankruptcy court to confirm his plan. The debtor made $29,900 in plan payments to the standing trustee. From that amount, the debtor’s counsel received $19,800 and $7503.30 was paid to the state for property taxes. The trustee paid the balance of $2,596.70 to himself in partial satisfaction of the statutory 10 percent fee. The debtor sought the return of the amount the trustee paid himself based on 11 U.S.C. §1326 and its difference to the comparative Chapter 12 provision of 11 U.S.C. §1326(a)(1). The debtor pointed out that a trustee is allowed to retain fees when a debtor’s Chapter 12 plan is not confirmed, but not in a Chapter 13. The bankruptcy court allowed the standing trustee to be compensated and the debtor appealed.

The district court agreed with the debtor, noting that 11 U.S.C. §1326(a)(2) provides, “if a plan is not confirmed, the trustee shall return any such payments not previously paid out and not yet due and owing to creditors.” The district court reasoned that if the payments must be returned, the fees collected from such payments must be returned. That language, the district court noted, was in contrast to the Chapter 12 language providing that “if a plan is not confirmed, the trustee shall return any such payments to the debtor, after deducting…the percentage fee fixed for such standing trustee.” The court reversed the reversed the bankruptcy court and remanded the case with instructions for the bankruptcy court to order the trustee to return the fee.  

Note:  While the district court expressed concern that a standing trustee may not be compensated for his efforts in situations such as this, the district court found the issue to be one for the Congress to address.

LLC Gifts Recharacterized

Smaldino v. Comr., T.C. Memo. 2021-127

Estate planning is a complicated process, and it gets more complicated as assets increase in number and value.  If a family business is involved, the complexity is increased further.  In this case, the Tax Court pointed out how important it is to carefully do estate planning correctly.  At its core, the case involved a gift by a husband to his wife and then to an irrevocable trust.  Because the plan wasn’t implemented and/or administered properly, the IRS recast the transaction and the court agreed, with severe tax consequences.  

Facts of the case.  The couple had a real estate portfolio of nearly $80 million including numerous rental properties that they owned and operated.  They agreed that the real estate should pass to the husband’s children and grandchildren from his prior marriage.  To accomplish that goal, he put 10 of the real estate properties into a family limited liability company (LLC) that he formed in 2003 (and for which he was designated as the manager) but which remained inactive until late 2012 when he had a health scare that finally motivated him to get his affairs in order.  The LLC, in turn, was placed into a revocable trust of which he was the trustee. In 2013, he transferred approximately eight percent of class B member interests in the LLC to an irrevocable trust (dynasty trust) that he had created a few months earlier for the benefit of his children and grandchildren. He named his son as trustee. 

At about the same time as the transfer to the dynasty trust, the petitioner transferred approximately 41 percent of the LLC membership interests to his wife (in an amount that roughly matched her then available federal estate and gift tax exemption), who then in turn transferred the same interests to the dynasty trust the next day.  As a result, the dynasty trust owned 49 percent of the LLC.  Simultaneously, the petitioner amended the LLC operating agreement to provide for guaranteed payments to himself and identified the dynasty trust as the LLC’s sole member.  On his 2013 gift tax return, the petitioner reported only his direct transfer of LLC interests to the dynasty trust and not those of his wife.  A valuation report dated four months after the transfers to the dynasty trust stated that the 49 percent interest in the LLC had a value of $6,281,000.  The federal estate and gift tax exemption was $5,250,000 in 2013.  The IRS asserted that the petitioner had underreported the 2013 taxable gifts by not reporting the wife’s gift to the dynasty trust, and asserted a gift tax deficiency of $1,154,000. 

The Tax Court agreed with the IRS, concluding that the wife’s gift to the dynasty trust should be treated as a direct gift by the petitioner for numerous reasons.  The Tax Court noted that the wife was not a “permitted transferee” under the LLC operating agreement and, thus, could not have owned the LLC interest.  The Tax Court also pointed out that the petitioner had amended the LLC operating agreement on the same day of his transfer of LLC member units to the dynasty trust to reflect himself as the sole member.  The Tax Court also pointed out that the transfers of the wife’s LLC member interest were undated – they only had “effective” dates, and that the assignments were likely signed after the valuation report was prepared four months later.  This meant that the wife had no real ownership rights in the LLC.  In addition, the Tax Court pointed out that the 2013 LLC income tax return did not allocate any income to the wife even though the petitioner claimed that she had an ownership interest for one day.  The LLC’s return and associated Schedules K-1 listed the petitioner as a 51 percent partner and the dynasty trust as a 49 percent partner for the entire year.  The petitioner’s wife was not listed as a partner for any part of the year

Take home planning pointers.  The case is a good one for learning what not to do when setting up a trust and transferring LLC interests as part of an estate plan.  The wife’s holding of the LLC interests for a day (at most) before the transfer to the LLC and then her transferring the exact same interests received as a gift to the dynasty trust is not a good approach.  It shows a lack of respect for the transaction.  The wife’s testimony at trial that she had no intent to hold the interest contradicted the alleged substance of the transaction.  It also shows that she didn’t understand the planning that was being engaged in – that’s the fault of the attorneys involved.  Also, the husband‘s failure to report the gift to his wife on a gift tax return was further demonstration that he didn’t respect that transfer.  With the amount of wealth involved in the case, a team of professionals should have been engaged, and all formalities of the various transactions should have been closely followed.  This includes providing written consent for the wife’s admission as an LLC member; providing the dates that documents were actually signed; not transferring the precise amount to the trust as was initially gifted; and having more time pass between the date of the gift to the wife and her subsequent transfer.  There was also no amended and restated LLC operating agreement to reflect her ownership (however brief).  Also, tax returns did not properly reflect what the taxpayers were doing.  

From a broader perspective, it simply is a bad idea to not do estate planning until health emergencies arise.  The same is true for other significant life events.  By waiting until estate planning is absolutely necessary, estate planning can be rushed and not be done as thoroughly as it otherwise should be.  Estate planning is a process that takes time. The rushed process in the case was probably a factor in the IRS succeeding in its assertion of the “step transaction” doctrine. 

There’s also another point from the timing involved in the case that has relevance to estate planning in 2020-2021.  While I can’t be positive from reading the court’s opinion, it appears that the estate planning was done in late 2012, at least from the standpoint of document drafting, and then completed in 2013.  2012/2013 was a time when there was concern by many that the federal estate tax exemption would drop from $5 million to $1 million.  Thus, many clients were worried about being faced with a “use-it-or-lose-it” situation not unlike the situation in 2021 going into 2022.  The point is that this uncertainty in the law surrounding estate planning creates an substantial increase in work for estate planners to accomplish in a short timeframe.  That combination can lead to a lack of thoroughness in the estate planning drafting and/or review process.  It is possible that this was part of the problem that led to the unfortunate tax result of the case.

Note:  Following legal formalities is important, such as creating and signing essential documents.  Also, consistency in tax reporting is critical.  In addition, thorough estate planning should involve a “team approach.”  The attorneys drafting the legal documents and providing legal counsel; tax practitioners that can review the tax consequences of the plan; financial and insurance professionals.  The more “eyes” that see an estate plan, the less chance that steps will be overlooked and/or mistakes made.

A key question in the case involved the timing of the transfers to the wife and then to the dynasty trust.  How long should she have held those transfers before retransferring them to avoid IRS successfully asserting the step-transaction doctrine?  In one case, six days was enough for holding assets as part of an overall estate plan before they were retransferred.  See Holman v. Comr., 130 T.C. 170 (2008), aff’d., 601 F.3d 763 (8th Cir. 2010).  In any event, the transaction must have economic substance if the transaction is to be respected taxwise. 

Conclusion

In the next article, I will look further at other developments of 2021 that weren’t quite significant enough on a national scale to make the 2021 Top Ten list.

January 18, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Estate Planning | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

“Top Ten” Agricultural Law and Tax Developments of 2021 – Numbers 8 and 7

Overview

As I pointed out in Sunday’s article, agricultural law and agricultural tax law intersect with everyday life of farmers and ranchers in many ways.  Some of those areas of intersection are good, but some are quite troubling.  In any event, it points to the need for being educated and having good legal and tax counsel that is well-trained in the special rules that apply to agriculture.

This is the second installment in my list of the “Top Ten” agricultural law and tax developments of 2021.  The list is comprised of what are, in my view, the most important developments in agricultural law (which includes taxation that impacts farmers and ranchers) to the sector as a whole.  The developments primarily are focused on the impact to production agriculture, but the issues involved will also have effects that spillover to rural landowners and agribusinesses as well as consumers of agricultural products.

The Eighth and Seventh most important agricultural law and tax developments of 2021 – it’s the topic of today’s post.

8.  Ag Nuisance Litigation in North Carolina.  In recent years, North Carolina has been the focus of much ag nuisance litigation, particularly targeted at large-scale hog confinement operations.  Legal developments flowing from the various cases has influenced the North Carolina legislature as well as legislatures in other states (such as Florida and Indiana) to modify their Right-To-Farm (RTF) laws in an attempt to provide greater legal protection to agricultural operations.  In 2021, there were further developments in North Carolina involving nuisance and that state’s RTF law.

The North Carolina RTF law was originally enacted in 1979 with the state policy goal to: "[R]educe the loss to the State of its agricultural and forestry resources by limiting the circumstances under which an agricultural or forestry operation may be deemed a nuisance." After many nuisance suits were filed against confinement hog operations, the legislature amended the RTF in 2013. The amendment specified that an ag operation that has been in business for at least a year and has not fundamentally changed is protected from a nuisance action as a result of changed conditions surrounding it if the ag operation was not a nuisance at the time it began. The plaintiffs refiled their suits in 2014 in federal district court based on the amended law. The federal court held that the RTF law did not apply to shield hog producers and five juries rendered verdicts for the plaintiffs. The legislature again amended the RTF law in 2017 and 2018 to expand its protection for agricultural operations.

There were two additional court opinions in 2021 involving the North Carolina RTF law.  In Barden v. Murphy-Brown, LLC, No. 7:20-CV-85-BR, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47809 (E.D. N.C. Mar. 15, 2021), the plaintiff sued the defendant in 2020 for trespass, negligence, civil conspiracy and unjust enrichment arising from odor, dust, feces, urine and flies from a neighboring hog facility that housed 20,000-head of the defendant’s hogs. The plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages. The defendant sought to dismiss the complaint for failure to join to the lawsuit the farmer that operated the hog facility via a contact with the defendant as an indispensable party. The court disagreed, as the farmer’s conduct was likely irrelevant to the outcome of the litigation and any impact that an adverse judgment against the defendant might have on the farmer’s interests at the farm was speculative. The defendant also sought dismissal on the basis that the plaintiff’s complaint failed to state a claim for relief that was other than speculative. The defendant cited the North Carolina RTF law as barring all of the plaintiff’s claims.

The federal trial court disagreed with the defendant, noting that conditions constituting a nuisance can also constitute a trespass (and other causes of action). Thus, the plaintiff’s complaint was not restricted to allegations of a nuisance cause of action which the RTF law would bar. The court noted that the RTF law was different from other state RTF laws that covered non-nuisance tort claims related to farming operations along with nuisance claims. The RTF law only covered nuisance-related claims and had no application to non-nuisance claims. As to whether the plaintiff adequately alleged the non-nuisance claims, the court concluded that the plaintiff sufficiently alleged, at a minimum, a claim for unintentional trespass by not consenting to dust, urine and fecal matter from entering its property. On the plaintiff’s negligence claim, the court determined that it was reasonably foreseeable that if the defendant did not act reasonably in managing the facility that dust and animal waste would be present on the plaintiff’s property. As such, the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty and there was a causal link with any potential breach of that duty. Thus, the plaintiff properly stated a claim for negligence. The plaintiff also alleged that the defendant conspired with its corporate parent to mislead the public about the science of hog manure removal and various constitutional violations. The court rejected this claim because any conspiracy was between the defendant and its corporate parent and not with any independent party. The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant unjustly enriched itself by using the plaintiff’s property for a de facto easement without paying for it. The court rejected the claim because the plaintiff had conferred no benefit on the plaintiff which gave rise to any legal or equitable obligation on the defendant’s part to account for the benefit received. However, the court refused to strike the plaintiff’s allegations relating to the defendant’s Chinese ownership, influence and exploitation as well as the defendant’s financial resources. The court determined that such allegations had a bearing on the defendant’s motivation, extent of harm and ability to implement alternative technology. 

A second court opinion involving the North Carolina RTF law was issued in late 2021.  In Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help v. State, No. COA21-175, 2021 N.C. App. LEXIS 733 (N.C. Ct. App. Dec. 21, 2021), the plaintiffs filed suit in 2019 challenging the constitutionality of the RTF law. The plaintiffs sued in 2019 challenging the constitutionality of the RTF law on its face because they claimed the law exceeded the scope of the state’s police power. The defendants moved to dismiss the case and the trial court granted the defendant's motion to dismiss and denied the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. On appeal, the appellate court affirmed. The state appellate court agreed with the trial court that limiting the potential nuisance liability from ag, forestry, and related operations furthered the state’s goal of protecting ag activities and encouraging the availability and continued production of agricultural products. The appellate court also determined that the RTF law amendments were a valid exercise of legislative and state police powers and did not violate the state Constitution’s Law of the Land Clause or the Due Process Clause. The appellate court also determined that the amendments were not a special or private law, and didn’t deprive any prospective plaintiff of the right to a jury trial. 

Note:   It is anticipated that the state appellate court opinion, if upheld on any appeal, will provide further guidance to other states and RTF laws. 

7.  Federal Court Determines Whether Withheld Taxes and Other Pre-Paid Taxes Can Be Deprioritized in Chapter 12 Bankruptcy. As originally enacted, Chapter 12 did not create a separate tax entity for Chapter 12 bankruptcy estates for purposes of federal income taxation.  That shortcoming precludes debtor avoidance of potential income tax liability on disposition of assets as may be possible for individuals who file Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy.  But, an amendment to Chapter 12 in 2005 made an important change.  As modified, tax debt associated with the sale of an asset used in farming can be treated as unsecured debt that is not entitled to priority and ultimately discharged.  Without this modification, a farmer faced with selling assets to satisfy creditors could trigger substantial tax liability that would impair the chance to reorganize the farming business under Chapter 12.  Such a farmer could be forced into liquidation.

A question that was addressed by a federal trial court in Indiana in 2021 was how taxes that the debtor had already paid are to be treated.  Can previously paid or withheld taxes be pulled back into the bankruptcy estate where they are “stripped” of their priority (i.e., deprioritized)?  That is a very significant question for a Chapter 12 farm debtor that also has off-farm income of a spouse that helps support the farming operation.

In United States v. Richards, No. 1:20-cv-02703-SEB-MG, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS (S.D. Ind. Sept. 30, 2021), the debtors, a married farm couple, filed Chapter 12 bankruptcy in 2018 after suffering losses from negative weather events and commodity market price declines during 2013 through 2015. The primary lender refused to renew the loan which forced liquidation of the farm’s assets in the spring of 2016. During 2016, the debtors sold substantially all of the farm equipment, vehicles and other personal property assets as well as grain inventory. The proceeds were paid to the primary lender as well as other lenders with purchase money security interests in relevant assets. After filing Chapter 12, the debtors sold additional farmland. The asset sales triggered substantial income tax obligations for 2016, 2017 and 2018 tax years. The debtors Chapter 12 plan made no mention concerning whether off-farm earnings, tax withholdings or payments the debtors voluntarily made to the IRS, or a claim or refund would remain property of the bankruptcy estate after Plan confirmation. The plan did, however, divide the debtors federal tax obligations into 1) tax liabilities for income arising from the sale, transfer, exchange or other disposition of any property used in the debtors’ farming operation “Section 1232 Income”; and 2) tax liabilities arising from other income sources – “Traditional income.” Tax liabilities associated with Traditional Income would retain priority status, but taxes associated with Section 1232 Income would be de-prioritized (regardless of when the liability was incurred) and treated as general unsecured claims that would be discharged upon Plan completion if not paid in full. Under the reorganization Plan, the debtors would pay directly the tax liability associated with Traditional Income incurred after the Chapter 12 filing date. Under the Plan, unsecured claims would be paid on a “pro rata” basis using the “marginal method” along with other general unsecured claims. The Section 1232 taxes would be computed by excluding the taxable income from the disposition of assets used in farming from the tax return utilizing a pro forma tax return. The Plan was silent concerning how the Debtors’ withholding payments and credits for each tax year were to be applied or allocated between any particular tax year’s income tax return and the corresponding pro forma return.

The IRS filed a proof of claim for the 2016 and 2017 tax years in the amount of $288,675.43. The debtors objected to the IRS’s claim, but did seek to reclassify $5,681 of the IRS claim as general unsecured priority status. The IRS failed to respond, and the bankruptcy court granted the debtors approximately $280,000 in tax relief for 2016 and 2017. The debtors then submitted their 2018 federal and state returns showing a tax liability of $58,380 and their pro forma return for 2018 excluding the income from the sale of farm assets which showed a tax liability of $3,399. The debtors, due to withholding and estimated tax, inadvertently paid $9,813 to the IRS during 2018. They claimed $6,414 was an overpayment and listed that amount on the Pro Forma return as a refund. The IRS amended its proof of claim and asserted a general unsecured claim of $42,200 for the 2018 tax year (excluding penalties and interest). The IRS claimed that none of the debtors’ tax liability qualified for non-priority treatment under 11 U.S.C. §1232, and that it had a general unsecured claim for $42, 220 for the 2018 tax year. To reach that amount, the IRS allocated tax withholdings and credits of $9,813 to the assessed tax due on the debtors’ pro forma return which reduced that amount to zero, and then allocated the remaining $6,414 of withholdings, payments and credits to the outstanding tax liability of $48,634. IRS later added $6,347 of net investment income tax that the debtors had reported on their return but IRS had excluded due to a processing error. The debtors objected to the IRS’s claim and asserted it should not be increased by either the $6,414 overpayment or the $6,347 of net investment income tax. The debtors sought to adjust the IRS claim to $54,981 and have the court issue a refund to them of $6,414 or reduce distributions to the IRS until the refund obligation had been satisfied. The IRS objected on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction to compel the issuance of a refund or credit of an overpayment, and that the debtors were not entitled to the refund or credit of the overpayment shown on the pro forma return as a matter of law.

The bankruptcy court sustained the debtors’ objection to the extent the 2018 refund was applied to the IRS’s claim in a manner other than provided for under the confirmed plan. Specifically, the bankruptcy court held that the IRS had exercised a setoff that was not permitted under 11 U.S.C. §553 which violated the plan’s bar against any creditor taking any action “to collect on any claim, whether by offset or otherwise, unless specifically authorized by this Plan.” But, the bankruptcy court held that it lacked jurisdiction to compel the issuance of a refund or credit of an overpayment and that the debtors were not entitled to the refund or credit of overpayment as a matter of law. This was because, the court determined, the refund was not “property of the estate” under 11 U.S.C. § §542 and 541(a). Later, the bankruptcy court held that the overpayment reflected on the pro forma return was “property of the estate” and withdrew its prior analysis of 11 U.S.C. §§542 and 505(a)(2)(B). Thus, the bankruptcy court allowed the IRS’s 2018 general unsecured tax claim in the amount of $54,981 and ordered the Trustee to pay distributions to the debtors until the overpayments had been paid to the debtors.

The IRS appealed, claiming that the bankruptcy court erred in allowing the IRS’s proof of claim in the amount of $54,981 rather than $48,567, and ordering the IRS to issue the debtors a refund or credit of any overpayment in the amount of $6,414. Specifically, the IRS asserted that 11 U.S.C. §1232 did not provide the debtors any right to an “overpayment” or “refund” because it only applies to “claims” - tax liability after crediting payments and withholdings. The IRS based its position on Iowa Department of Revenue v. DeVries, 621 B.R. 445 (8th Cir. B.A.P. 2020). However, the trial court noted distinctions with the facts of DeVries. Here, the sale of property at issue occurred post-petition and involved a claim objection after the Plan had already been confirmed. The appellate court noted that the IRS did not object to the terms of the Plan, and under 11. U.S.C. §1232 the debtors can deprioritize all post-petition Sec. 1232 liabilities, not just a portion. The application of the marginal method resulted in a tax liability of $54,981 to be paid in accordance with 11 U.S.C. §1232. The non-§1232 tax liability was $3,399. The debtors inadvertently paid $9,813 to the IRS and were entitled to a refund of $6,414, and the IRS could not apply that amount against the Sec. 1232 liabilities in calculating its proof of claim. The refund amount was “property of the estate” under 11 U.S.C. §1207(a)(2).

Note:   On November 30, 2021, an appeal was docketed with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Devries and Richards are important cases for practitioners helping farmers in financial distress.  11 U.S.C. §1232 is a powerful tool that can assist making a farm reorganization more feasible.  The Indiana case is a bit strange.  In that case, the debtors were also due a refund for 2016.  A pro-forma return for that year showed a refund of $1,300.  Thus, the issue of a refund being due for pre-petition taxes could have been asserted just as it was in the Iowa case.  Another oddity about the Indiana case is that the 2018 pro-forma (and regular) return was submitted to the IRS in March of 2019.  Under 11 U.S.C. §1232, the “governmental body” has 180 days to file its proof of claim after the pro forma tax return was filed.  The IRS timely filed its proof of claim and later filed an amended proof of claim which was identical to the original proof of claim.  The IRS filed an untimely proof of claim in one of the other jointly administered cases.

Procedurally, in the Indiana case, a Notice regarding the use of 11 U.S.C. §1232 should have been filed with the court to clarify the dates of Notice to the IRS (and other governmental bodies) of the amount of the priority non-dischargeable taxes and 11 U.S.C. §1232 taxes to be discharged under the plan.  That is when the issue of the refund would have been raised with the IRS.  However, there was no Notice of the filing of the pro-forma return with the court.  It will be interesting to see how the U.S. Court of Appeals handles the Indiana case on appeal.

Note:   Going forward, Chapter 12 reorganization plans should provide that if a pro-forma return shows that the debtor is owed a refund the governmental bodies will pay it.  

Conclusion

The next article will detail the Sixth and Fifth most important ag law and tax developments of 2021.  Stay tuned. 

January 4, 2022 in Bankruptcy, Civil Liabilities, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 8, 2021

Farm Bankruptcy – “Stripping,” “Claw-Back” and the Tax Collecting Authorities (Update)

Note:  This article is an update to my blog article of May 4, 2020 that can be accessed here: https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/agriculturallaw/2020/05/farm-bankruptcy-stripping-claw-back-and-the-tax-collecting-authorities.html

Overview

As originally enacted, Chapter 12 did not create a separate tax entity for Chapter 12 bankruptcy estates for purposes of federal income taxation.  That shortcoming precludes debtor avoidance of potential income tax liability on disposition of assets as may be possible for individuals who file Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy.  But, an amendment to Chapter 12 enacted 19 years after Chapter 12 was established made an important change.  As modified, tax debt associated with the sale of an asset used in farming can be treated as unsecured debt that is not entitled to priority and ultimately discharged.  Without this modification, a farmer faced with selling assets to come up with funds to satisfy creditors could trigger substantial tax liability that would impair the chance to reorganize the farming business under Chapter 12.  Such a farmer could be forced into liquidation.

If taxes can be treated as unsecured debt how are taxes that the debtor has already paid to be treated?  Can those previously paid or withheld taxes be pulled back into the bankruptcy estate where they are “stripped” of their priority? 

Chapter 12 bankruptcy and priority “stripping” of taxes – it’s the topic of today’s post.

2005 Modified Tax Provision

The 2005 Bankruptcy Code allows a Chapter 12 debtor to treat claims arising out of “claims

owed to a governmental unit” as a result of “sale, transfer, exchange, or other disposition of any farm asset used in the debtor’s farming operation” to be treated as an unsecured claim that is not entitled to priority under Section 507(a) of the Bankruptcy Code, provided the debtor receives a discharge.  11 U.S.C. §1222(a)(2)(A).  The amendment attempted to address a major problem faced by many family farmers filing Chapter 12 bankruptcy where the sale of farm assets to make the operation economically viable triggered gain which, as a priority claim, had to be paid in full before payment could be made to general unsecured creditors.  Even though the priority tax claims could be paid in full in deferred payments under prior law, in many instances the debtor did not have enough funds to allow payment of the priority tax claims in full even in deferred payments.  That was the core problem that the 2005 provision was attempting to address.

Nothing in the 2005 legislation specified when the property can be disposed of to have the associated taxes be eligible for unsecured claim status. Of course, to confirm a Chapter 12 plan the taxing agencies must receive at least as large an amount as they would have received had the claim been a pre-petition unsecured claim.  On this issue, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has ruled that a debtor’s pre-petition sale of slaughter hogs came within the scope of the provision, and that the provision changes the character of the taxes from priority status to unsecured such that, upon discharge, the unpaid portion of the tax is discharged along with interest and penalties.  In re Knudsen, et al. v. Internal Revenue Service, 581 F.3d 696 (8th Cir. 2009).   The court also held the statute applies to post-petition taxes and that those taxes can be treated as an administrative expense.  Such taxes can be discharged in full if provided for in the Chapter 12 plan and the debtor receives a discharge. Upon the filing of a Chapter 12, a separate taxpaying entity apart from the debtor is not created. 

That is an important point in the context of the 2005 amendment.  The debtor remains responsible for tax taxes triggered in the context of Chapter 12.  The amendment, however, allows non-priority treatment for claims entitled to priority under 11 U.S.C. §507(a)(2).  That provision covers administrative expenses that are allowed by 11 U.S.C. §503(b)(B) which includes any tax that the bankruptcy estate incurs.  Pre-petition taxes are covered by 11 U.S.C. §507(a)(8).  But, post-petition taxes, to be covered by the amendment, must be incurred by the bankruptcy estate such as is the case with administrative expenses.  Indeed, the IRS position is that post-petition taxes are not "incurred by the estate" as is required for a tax to be characterized as an administrative expense in accordance with 11 U.S.C. § 503 (b)(1)(B)(i), and that post-petition taxes constitute a liability of the debtor rather than the estate.  See ILM 200113027 (Mar. 30, 2001). The U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits agreed with the IRS position, as did the U.S. Supreme Court.  Hall v. United States, 132 S. Ct. 1882 (2012).   

2017 Legislation

H.R. 2266, signed into law on October 26, 2017, contains the Family Farmer Bankruptcy Act (Act). The Act adds 11 U.S.C. §1232 which specifies that, “Any unsecured claim of a governmental unit against the debtor or the estate that arises before the filing of the petition, or that arises after the filing of the petition and before the debtor's discharge under section 1228, as a result of the sale, transfer, exchange, or other disposition of any property used in the debtor's farming operation”… is to be treated as an unsecured claim that arises before the bankruptcy petition was filed that is not entitled to priority under 11 U.S.C. §507 and is deemed to be provided for under a plan, and discharged in accordance with 11 U.S.C. §1228. The provision amends 11 U.S.C. §1222(a)(2)(A) to effectively override the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Hall.  As noted above, in Hall the U.S. Supreme Court held that tax triggered by the post-petition sale of farm assets was not discharged under 11 U.S.C. §1222(a)(2)(A). The Court held that because a Chapter 12 bankruptcy estate cannot incur taxes by virtue of 26 U.S.C. §1399, taxes were not “incurred by the estate” under 11 U.S.C. §503(b) which barred post-petition taxes from being treated as non-priority.   The 2017 legislation overrides that result.  The provision was effective for all pending Chapter 12 cases with unconfirmed plans and all new Chapter 12 cases as of October 26, 2017.

Computational Issues

The 2005 provision also makes no mention of how the amount of priority and non-priority tax claims is to be computed.  Operationally, if a Chapter 12 bankruptcy filer has liquidated assets used in the farming operation within the tax year of filing or liquidates assets used in the farming operation after Chapter 12 filing as part of the Chapter 12 plan, and gain or depreciation recapture income or both are triggered, the plan should provide that there are will be no payments to unsecured creditors until the amount of the tax owed to governmental bodies for the sale of assets used in the farming operation is ascertained. The dischargeable tax claims are then added to the pre-petition unsecured claims to determine the percentage distribution to be made to the holders of pre-petition unsecured claims as well as the claims of the governmental units that are being treated as unsecured creditors not entitled to priority.  That approach assures that all claims that are deemed to be unsecured claims would be treated equitably.

Methods of computation.  To accurately determine the extent of the priority tax claim under the non-priority provision, it is necessary to directly relate the priority tax treatment to the income derived from sources that either satisfy the non-priority provision or do not satisfy it.  There are two basic approaches for computing the priority and general dischargeable unsecured tax claims – the proportional method or the marginal allocation method.  The proportional method (which is the IRS approach) divides the debtor’s ordinary farming income by the debtor’s total income and then multiplies the total tax claim by the resulting fraction.  That result is then subtracted from the debtor’s total tax liability with the balance treated as the non-priority part of the tax obligation.  Conversely, under the marginal approach, the debtor prepares a pro-forma tax return that omits the income from the sale of farm assets.  The resulting tax liability from the pro forma return is then subtracted from the total tax due on the debtor’s actual return.  The difference is the tax associated with the sale of farm assets that is entitled to non-priority treatment. 

A shortfall of the IRS’ proportional method is that it merely divides the debtor’s tax obligation by applying the ratio of the debtor’s priority tax claim to the debtor’s total income and then divides the total tax claim.  That mechanical computation does not consider any deductions and/or credits that impact the debtor’s final tax liability, and which are often phased out based on income.  Instead, the proportional method simply treats every dollar of income the same.  The result is that the proportional method, as applied to many debtors, significantly increases the debtor’s adjusted gross income and the priority non-dischargeable tax obligation.  The proportional method makes no attempt to measure the type of income, or what income “causes” any particular portion of the tax claim.    

The marginal approach was adopted by Eighth Circuit in the Knudsen case as well as the Bankruptcy Court in In re Ficken, 430 B.R. 663 (Bankr. D. Colo. 2009).  The appropriate tax allocation method was not at issue in either of the cases on appeal.  The Kansas bankruptcy court also rejected the IRS approach in favor of the marginal method.   The most recent court decision on the issue has, like earlier cases, rejected the proportional method in favor of the marginal method.  In re Keith, No. 10-12997, 2013 Bankr. LEXIS 2802 (Bankr. D. Kan. Jul. 8, 2013).

What About Withheld Tax?

Under the 2005 amendment (and the 2017 legislation) taxes triggered by the sale, exchange, etc., of assets used in farming can be stripped of there priority status in a Chapter 12 farm bankruptcy.  However, the debtor’s method for computing the taxes not entitled to priority involves utilization of the debtor’s total tax claim.  That means that taxes that have already been withheld or paid through estimated payments should be refunded to the debtor’s bankruptcy estate, where it becomes subject to the priority/non-priority computation, rather than being offset against the debtor’s overall tax debt (with none it subject to non-priority treatment).  Of course, the IRS and state taxing authorities object to this treatment.

Iowa bankruptcy case.  The issue of how to handle withheld taxes was at issue in a recent case.  In In re DeVries, No. 19-0018, 2020 U.S. Bankr. LEXIS 1154 (Bankr. N.D. Iowa Apr. 28, 2020), the debtors, a married couple, filed an initial Chapter 12 reorganization plan that the bankruptcy court held to be not confirmable.  The debtors filed an amended plan that required the IRS and the Iowa Department of Revenue (IDOR) to refund to the debtors’ bankruptcy estate withheld income taxes.  The taxing authorities objected, claiming that the withheld amounts had already been applied against the debtor’s tax debt as 11 U.S.C. §553(a) allowed.  The debtors claimed that the 2017 legislation barred tax debt arising from the sale of assets used in farming from being offset against previously collected tax.  Instead, the debtors argued, the withheld taxes should be returned to the bankruptcy estate.  If withheld taxes weren’t returned to the bankruptcy estate, the debtors argued, similarly situated debtors would be treated differently. 

The debtors sold a significant amount of farmland and farming machinery in 2017, triggering almost a $1 million of capital gain income and increasing their 2017 tax liability significantly.  The tax liability was offset to a degree by income tax withholding from the wife’s off-farm job.  Their amended Chapter 12 plan called for a refund to the estate of withheld federal and state income taxes.  In the fall of 2019, the debtors submitted pro forma state and federal tax returns as well as their traditional tax returns for 2017 to the bankruptcy court in conjunction with the confirmation of their amended Chapter 12 plan.  The pro-forma returns showed what the debtors’ tax liability would have been without the sale of the farmland and farm equipment.  The pro-forma returns also showed, but for the capital gain, the debtors would have been entitled to a full tax refund of the taxes already withheld from the wife’s off-farm job. 

The court was faced with the issue of whether 11 U.S.C. §1232(a) entitled the bankruptcy estate to a refund of the withheld tax.  The IRS and IDOR claimed that 11 U.S.C. §553(a) preserved priority position for tax debt that arose before the bankruptcy petition was filed.  The court disagreed, noting that 11 U.S.C. §1232(a) deals specifically with how governmental claims involving pre-petition tax debt are to be treated – as unsecured, non-priority obligations.  But the court noted that 11 U.S.C. §1232(a) does not specifically address “clawing-back” previously withheld tax.  It merely referred to “qualifying tax debt” and said it was to be treated as unsecured and not entitled to priority.  Referencing the legislative history behind both the 2005 and 2017 amendments, the court noted that the purpose of the priority-stripping provision was to help farmers have a better chance at reorganization by de-prioritizing taxes, including capital gain taxes.  The court pointed to statements that Sen. Charles Grassley made to that effect.  The court also noted that the 2017 amendment was for the purpose of strengthening (and clarifying) the original 2005 de-prioritization provision by overturning the result in Hall to allow for de-prioritization of taxes arising from both pre and post-petitions sales of assets used in farming.  Accordingly, the court concluded that 11 U.S.C. §1232(a) overrode a creditor’s set-off rights under 11 U.S.C. §553(a) in the context of Chapter 12.  The debtors’ bankruptcy estate was entitled to a refund of the withheld income taxes. 

On appeal, the bankruptcy appellate panel for the Eighth Circuit reversed.  In re DeVries, 621 B.R. 445 (8th Cir. B.A.P. 2020).  The appellate panel determined that 11 U.S.C. §1232(a) is a priority-stripping provision and not a tax provision and only addresses the priority of a claim and does not establish any right to or amount of a refund. As such, nothing in the statue authorized a debtor’s Chapter 12 plan to require a taxing authority to disgorge, refund or turn-over pre-petition withholdings for the benefit of the bankruptcy estate. The statutory term “claim,” the court reasoned, cannot be read to include withheld tax as of the petition date. Accordingly, the statute was clear and legislative history purporting to support the debtor’s position was rejected.

Indiana bankruptcy case.  In re Richards, 616 B.R. 879 (Bankr. S.D. Ind. 2020) was decided the day after DeVries.  In re Richards involved debtors, a married farm couple, who filed Chapter 12 bankruptcy in 2018 after suffering losses from negative weather events and commodity market price declines during 2013 through 2015.  The primary lender refused to renew the loan which forced liquidation of the farm’s assets in the spring of 2016.  During 2016, the debtors sold substantially all of the farm equipment, vehicles and other personal property assets as well as grain inventory.  The proceeds were paid to the primary lender as well as other lenders with purchase money security interests in relevant assets.  After filing Chapter 12, the debtors sold additional farmland.  The asset sales triggered substantial income tax obligations for 2016, 2017 and 2018 tax years.  The debtors Chapter 12 plan made no mention concerning whether off-farm earnings, tax withholdings or payments the debtors voluntarily made to the IRS, or a claim or refund would remain property of the bankruptcy estate after Plan confirmation.  The plan did, however, divide the debtors federal tax obligations into 1) tax liabilities for income arising from the sale, transfer, exchange or other disposition of any property used in the debtors’ farming operation “Section 1232 Income”; and 2) tax liabilities arising from other income sources – “Traditional income.”  Tax liabilities associated with Traditional Income would retain priority status, but taxes associated with Section 1232 Income would be de-prioritized (regardless of when the liability was incurred) and treated as general unsecured claims that would be discharged upon Plan completion if not paid in full.  The debtors would pay directly the tax liability associated with Traditional Income incurred after the Chapter 12 filing date.  Under the Plan, unsecured claims would be paid on a “pro rata” basis using the “marginal method” along with other general unsecured claims.  The Section 1232 taxes would be computed by excluding the taxable income from the disposition of assets used in farming from the tax return utilizing a pro forma tax return. 

The Plan was silent concerning how the Debtors’ withholding payments and credits for each tax year were to be applied or allocated between any particular tax year’s income tax return and the corresponding pro forma return.  The IRS filed a proof of claim for the 2016 and 2017 tax years in the amount of $288,675.43.  The debtors objected to the IRS’s claim, but did seek to reclassify $5,681 of the IRS claim as general unsecured priority status.  The IRS failed to respond, and the court granted the debtors approximately $280,000 in tax relief for 2016 and 2017.  The debtors then submitted their 2018 federal and state returns showing a tax liability of $58,380 and their pro forma return for 2018 excluding the income from the sale of farm assets which showed a tax liability of $3,399. 

The debtors, due to withholding and estimated tax, inadvertently paid $9,813 to the IRS during 2018.  The claimed $6,414 was an overpayment and listed that amount on the Pro Forma return as a refund.  The IRS amended its proof of claim and asserted a general unsecured claim of $42,200 for the 2018 tax year (excluding penalties and interest).  The IRS claimed that none of the debtors’ tax liability qualified for non-priority treatment under 11 U.S.C. §1232, and that it had a general unsecured claim for $42, 220 for the 2018 tax year.  To reach that amount, the IRS allocated tax withholdings and credits of $9,813 to the assessed tax due on the debtors’ pro forma return which reduced that amount to zero, and then allocated the remaining $6,414 of withholdings, payments and credits to the outstanding tax liability of $48,634.  IRS later added $6,347 of net investment income tax that the debtors had reported on their return but IRS had excluded due to a processing error.  The debtors objected to the IRS’s claim and asserted it should not be increased by neither the $6,414 overpayment or the $6,347 of net investment income tax.  The debtors sought to adjust the IRS claim to $54,981 and have the court issue a refund to them of $6,414 or reduce distributions to the IRS until the refund obligation had been satisfied.  The IRS objected on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction to compel the issuance of a refund or credit of an overpayment, and that the debtors were not entitled to the refund or credit of the overpayment shown on the pro forma return as a matter of law. 

The court sustained the debtors’ objection to the extent the 2018 refund was applied to the IRS’s claim in a manner other than provided for under the confirmed plan.  Specifically, the court held that the IRS has exercised a setoff that was not permitted under 11 U.S.C. §553 which violated the plan’s bar against any creditor taking any action “to collect on any claim, whether by offset or otherwise, unless specifically authorized by this Plan.”  But, the court held that it lacked jurisdiction to compel the issuance of a refund or credit of an overpayment and that the debtors were not entitled to the refund or credit of overpayment as a matter of law.  This was because, the court determined, the refund was not “property of the estate” under 11 U.S.C. § §542 and 541(a).

Note:  While the Indiana bankruptcy court claimed it lacked authority to force the IRS to issue a refund based on a “property of the estate” argument, that argument leads to a conclusion that is counter to the intent and purpose of I.R.C. §1232.  How is 11 U.S.C. §1232 to be operative if a court says it can’t enforce it?  Certainly, filing a Notice of intent concerning the priority stripping of 11 U.S.C. §1232 taxes with the court asserting the debtors’ right to receive the tax refund would have teed-up the issue more quickly, one wonders whether a judge intent on negating the impact of 11 U.S.C. §1232 would have decided differently.

Later, the court held that the overpayment reflected on the pro forma return was “property of the estate” and withdrew its prior analysis of 11 U.S.C. §§542 and 505(a)(2)(B).  Thus, the court allowed the IRS’s 2018 general unsecured tax claim in the amount of $54,981 and ordered the Trustee to pay distributions to the debtors until the overpayments had been paid to the debtors.

The IRS appealed, claiming that the bankruptcy court erred in allowing the IRS’s proof of claim in the amount of $54,981 rather than $48,567, and ordering the IRS to issue the debtors a refund or credit of any overpayment in the amount of $6,414.  Specifically, the IRS asserted that 11 U.S.C. §1232 did not provide the debtors any right to an “overpayment” or “refund” because it only applies to “claims” - tax liability after crediting payments and withholdings.  The IRS based its position on DeVries.  However, the appellate court in In re Richards, No. 1:20-cv-027030SEB-MG, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 188154 (7th Cir. Sept. 30, 2021), noted distinctions with the facts of DeVries.  Here, the sale of property at issue occurred post-petition and involved a claim objection after the Plan had already been confirmed.  The appellate court noted that the IRS did not object to the terms of the Plan, and under 11. U.S.C. §1232 the debtors were entitled to deprioritize all post-petition Sec. 1232 liabilities, not just a portion.  The application of the marginal method resulted in a tax liability of $54,981 to be paid in accordance with Sec. 1232.  The non-Sec. 1232 tax liability was $3,399.  The debtors inadvertently paid $9,813 to the IRS and were entitled to a refund of $6,414 which the IRS could not apply against the Sec. 1232 liabilities in calculating its proof of claim. 

The appellate court also determined that the refund amount was “property of the estate” under 11 U.S.C. §1207(a)(2).  The appellate court noted that the debtors’ off-farm earnings became property of the estate at the time the Plan was confirmed and became subject to the terms and payment requirements of the Plan.  The Plan directed the use of the off-farm earnings during the life of the Plan and specifically provided that off-farm earnings could not be used to pay tax liabilities associated with the sale of farm assets used in farming – the Sec. 1232 liabilities.  Thus, the appellate court concluded what the debtors’ position was consistent with In re Heath, 115 F.3d 521 (7th Cir. 1997) because the $6,414 refund was part of a payment made from off-farm earnings necessary to fund the Plan’s payment obligations. 

Conclusion

Devries and Richards are important cases for practitioners helping farmers in financial distress.  11 U.S.C. §1232 is a powerful tool that can assist making a farm reorganization more feasible.  The Indiana case is a bit strange.  In that case, the debtors were also due a refund for 2016.  A pro-forma return for that year showed a refund of $1,300.  Thus, the issue of a refund being due for pre-petition taxes could have been asserted just as it was in the Iowa case.  Another oddity about the Indiana case is that the 2018 pro-forma (and regular) return was submitted to the IRS in March of 2019.  Under 11 U.S.C. §1232, the “governmental body” has 180 days to file its proof of claim after the pro forma tax return was filed.  The IRS timely filed tis proof of claim and later filed an amended proof of claim which was identical to the original proof of claim.  The IRS filed an untimely proof of claim in one of the other jointly administered cases.

Procedurally, in the Indiana case, a Notice regarding the use of 11 U.S.C. §1232 should have been filed with the court to clarify the dates of Notice to the IRS (and other governmental bodies) of the amount of the priority non-dischargeable taxes and 11 U.S.C. §1232 taxes to be discharged under the plan.  That is when the issue of the refund would have been raised with the IRS.  However, there was no Notice of the filing of the pro-forma return with the court. 

Note:  Going forward, Chapter 12 reorganization plans should provide that if a pro-forma return shows that the debtor is owed a refund the governmental bodies will pay it.  

It is also important to remember that if the debtor does not receive a Chapter 12 discharge, the taxing bodies are free to pursue the debtor as if no bankruptcy had been filed, assessing and collecting the tax as well as all penalties and interest allowed by law including any refunds the taxing bodies are forced to make based on § 1232.  Competent bankruptcy counsel that appreciates tax law is a must. 

October 8, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Montana Conference and Ag Law Summit (Nebraska)

Overview

The second of the two national conferences on Farm/Ranch Income Tax and Farm/Ranch Estate and Business Planning is coming up on August 2 and 3 in Missoula, Montana.  A month later, on September 3, I will be conducting an “Ag Law Summit” at Mahoney State Park located between Omaha and Lincoln, NE.

Upcoming conferences on agricultural taxation, estate and business planning, and agricultural law – it’s the topic of today’s post.

Montana

The second of my two 2021 summer conferences on agricultural taxation and estate/business planning will be held in beautiful Missoula, Montana.  Day 1 on August 2 is devoted to farm income taxation, with sessions involving an update of farm income tax developments; lingering PPP and ERC issues (as well as an issue that has recently arisen with respect to EIDLs); NOLs (including the most recent IRS Rev. Proc. and its implications); timber farming; oil and gas taxation; handling business interest; QBID/DPAD planning; FSA tax and planning issues; and the prospects for tax legislation and implications.  There will also be a presentation on Day 1 by IRS Criminal Investigation Division on how tax practitioners can protect against cyber criminals and other theft schemes. 

On Day 2, the focus turns to estate and business planning with an update of relevant court and IRS developments; a presentation on the farm economy and what it means for ag clients and their businesses; special use valuation; corporate reorganizations; the use of entities in farm succession planning; property law issues associated with transferring the farm/ranch to the next generation; and an ethics session focusing on end-of life decisions.

If you have ag clients that you do tax or estate/business planning work for, this is a “must attend” conference – either in-person or online.

For more information about the Montana conference and how to register, click here:  https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/farmandranchtaxaugust.html

Nebraska

On September 3, I will be holding an “Ag Law Summit” at Mahoney St. Park, near Ashland, NE.  The Park is about mid-way between Omaha and Lincoln, NE on the adjacent to the Platte River and just north of I-80.  The Summit will be at the Lodge at the Park.  On-site attendance is limited to 100.  However, the conference will also be broadcast live over the web for those that would prefer to or need to attend online.

I will be joined at the Summit by Prof. Ed Morse of Creighton Law School who, along with Colten Venteicher of the Bacon, Vinton, et al., firm in Gothenburg, NE, will open up their “Ag Entreprenuer’s Toolkit” to discuss the common business and tax issues associated with LLCs.  Also on the program will be Dan Waters of the Lamson, et al. firm in Omaha.  Dan will address how to successfully transition the farming business to the next generation of owners in the family. 

Katie Zulkoski and Jeffrey Jarecki will provide a survey of state laws impacting agriculture in Nebraska and key federal legislation (such as the “30 x 30” matter being discussed).  The I will address special use valuation – a technique that will increase in popularity if the federal estate tax exemption declines from its present level.  I will also provide an update on tax legislation (income and transfer taxes) and what it could mean for clients. 

The luncheon speaker for the day is Janet Bailey.  Janet has been deeply involved in Kansas agriculture for many years and will discuss how to create and maintain a vibrant rural practice. 

If you have a rural practice, I encourage you to attend.  It will be worth your time. 

For more information about the conference, click here:   https://www.washburnlaw.edu/employers/cle/aglawsummit.html

Conclusion

The Montana and Nebraska conferences are great opportunities to glean some valuable information for your practices.  As noted, both conferences will also be broadcast live over the web if you can’t attend in person.   

July 15, 2021 in Bankruptcy, Business Planning, Environmental Law, Estate Planning, Income Tax, Real Property, Regulatory Law, Water Law | Permalink | Comments (0)