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Impact of Tax Reform on Agricultural Cooperatives and Members

Phil Kenkel and Brian Briggeman ()

Journal of Cooperatives, 2018, vol. 33

Abstract: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) created a number of changes to the U.S. tax code. Three of these changes have significant ramifications for U.S. agricultural producers and U.S. agricultural cooperatives: (1) A reduction in the corporate tax rate from a maximum rate of 35% to a flat rate of 21%; (2) Elimination of the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD) or Section 199; and (3) Creation and subsequent revision of a new tax deduction labeled Section 199A. Section 199A provided tax benefits for pass-through entities including agricultural cooperatives. The original Section 199A language in the TCJA became controversial because it raised the possibility that a producer who marketed commodities through a cooperative might receive greater tax benefits relative to one who sold to an investor-owned corporation. The situation was described as “The Grain Glitch” in the popular press because it was perceived to give cooperatives an unintended marketing advantage (Jacobs, 2018). This reaction led to a revision of the Section 199A Deduction, which was included in the March 23, 2018 omnibus-spending bill. This entire process has left cooperative leaders and members with a number of questions related to the TCJA. Producers wonder it now more advantageous to sell to a cooperative or to a non-cooperative business. Cooperative leaders are interested in how the TCJA affected the optimal profit distribution choices of agricultural cooperatives. All of those participants are interesting in knowing how the TCJA provisions compare to the tax provisions facing cooperatives and members prior to the reform. The purpose of this paper is to analyze and discuss the implications of the TCJA on agricultural producers and cooperatives.

Keywords: Agribusiness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.301195

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