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Biofuel, ag benefits among provisions in Hatch tax bill


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — In areas where President Donald Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act fell short in extending tax credits for farmers and farm-related industries, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch’s Tax Extenders Act of 2017 (S.2256) filled the gaps quite nicely.

This was the conclusion of many in agriculture following the first reading of the bill, which was brought to the floor Dec. 20, 2017, and sent to the desk of the Senate Committee on Finance.

In relation to agriculture, Hatch’s bill – which is cosponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Crapo (R-Utah), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) – would extend expired or expiring tax credits for cellulosic biofuel, various biodiesels, alternative vehicle refueling properties, closed-loop biomass and businesses that convert wind into electricity.

In a news release, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) called the expired tax provisions “important to farmers” while noting the Tax Extenders Act would also restore lapsed tax credits for shortline railroads farmers rely on for transporting their commodities to market.

One week after the bill’s introduction, the AFBF joined more than 55 other organizations in drafting a letter of support to House and Senate leaders.

“Acting to extend these expired tax provisions will allow businesses and individuals to make important planning decisions. Allowing these provisions to remain lapsed creates confusion in the marketplace, and effectively increases taxes on entities that create jobs and economic growth,” the groups wrote, in part.

The farm community would benefit thus from the extensions of the following tax credits, according to the AFBF:

•The $1.01 per-gallon income tax credit for cellulosic biofuel

•The $1 per-gallon biodiesel and renewable diesel tax credits for biodiesel and blending biodiesel

•The 10 cents per-gallon Small Agri-Biodiesel Producer Credit

•The $1 per-gallon biodiesel excise tax credit, which can be taken against fuel taxes

•The 30 percent investment tax credit for installing alternative vehicle refueling property

•The 2.3 cents per-kilowatt hour Production Tax Credit for energy from closed-loop biomass, and the 1.2 cents per-kilowatt hour credit for closed-loop biomass

•The option of taking an investment tax credit in lieu of Production Tax Credit

•The investment tax credit for installation costs of facilities that produce electricity from the wind

•The Distributed Wind Investment Tax Credit for electricity production facilities

In addition, the 50 percent Railroad Tax Maintenance Credit for shortlines would be restored under Hatch’s bill. Expired since January 2017, the shortline tax credit would be extended until Dec. 31, 2018, allowing regional and shortline railroads to claim a 50-cent tax credit for each dollar they spend on track rehabilitation and maintenance projects.

In all, more than 30 tax credits set to expire would be extended through the bill, which also includes the non-taxability of forgiven mortgage debt, faster depreciation for motorsports tracks and “a credit that helps StarKist Co.’s tuna cannery in American Samoa,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

The tax credits restored through the Tax Extenders Act “impact sectors vital to the U.S. economy and support tens of thousands of jobs nationwide,” according to signatories of the House-Senate letter. House and Senate tax writing committees are expected to begin work on the bill this month, the AFBF reported.