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The Obama administration on Monday announced it is delaying the employer mandate under ObamaCare until 2016 for some small businesses. This delay in the mandate — the second so far — would only apply to businesses with between 50 and 99 employees, who would have until January 2016 to decide whether to offer insurance to their employees or pay a penalty. Businesses would also be barred from cutting their workers in order to fall under the threshold. The employer mandate, a cornerstone of the healthcare law, was set to take effect in January, but the administration announced in July that companies would have until January of 2015 to comply.
The controversial Keystone XL pipeline cleared a major hurdle on Friday as the State Department ruled the project wouldn’t significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.
The finding puts the pipeline one step closer to approval, and sets up a new battle between environmental groups and oil companies over whether the project is in the national interest.
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the project reiterates key parts of a draft analysis released early last year, finding that oil sands extraction would continue regardless of whether the pipeline is built.
NAEDA has submitted comments to EPA concerning their proposal to reduce the 2014 biofuel blending requirement under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). In the comments, it was noted that reducing the required levels of biofuels will have an impact on farmers, their income and equipment dealers and their employees.
The comments noted that “Reducing the required levels of biofuels will also have an effect on job creation, reduce our nation’s energy security and cut future investments in the development of next generation biofuels. The current standards, which the industry has met and planned for, have helped reduce dependence on foreign sources of oil and provided needed reductions in greenhouse gases by millions of metric tons.”
Section 179 of the Internal Revenue Code allows your customers to expense a portion of equipment purchases (new or used) in any given year. This essentially allows customers to accelerate depreciation of the equipment and the related tax savings. In 2013, this deduction could be used by any customer making purchases of equipment (or other property that must be depreciated) that totaled $2,000,000 or less in that year. If your customer was in this category, $500,000 of these purchases could be deducted under Section 179.
A letter has been sent from the Coalition to the Hill in response to the tax reform drafts released last fall by Finance Chairman Max Baucus and the ongoing push for reform by the Ways and Means Committee. The letter was sent to the Chairmen and Ranking Members of both tax-writing committees with copies to all Members of the House and Senate.
Congress threw U.S. agriculture a curve ball when it let accelerated depreciation virtually vanish in 2014. The popular 50% bonus depreciation sunset Dec. 31. More painful, instead of $500,000 of Sec. 179 capital improvements eligible for first-year tax writeoff, your new limit is only $25,000. (Don't have a panic attack--DTN's tax columnist Andy Biebl expects Congress to retroactively lift that ceiling to $140,000 or so, but that's not set in concrete yet. John McNutt, a consultant with Latta Harris in Tipton, Iowa, speculates the ceiling could be $200,000 or even $250,000.)
The retail-worker strikes that swept the nation in 2013 did not move Congress to raise the minimum wage, but a growing number of states are taking action.
NAEDA submitted comments to the Senate Finance Committee on December 16th that listed a set of requested actions that the committee should consider as part of their Cost Recovery and Accounting Discussion Draft Comments. NAEDA's requested actions were:
• Make permanent the bonus depreciation and Section 179 provisions enacted under The Small Business and Work Opportunity Tax Act of 2007, the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
• Change the farm and ranch equipment assigned class life to five years for depreciation purposes. This will match the same assigned class life of construction equipment.
• Modify the current depreciation schedules for buildings and their contents to accurately reflect actual lifetime usage rates and specialty uses to match industry’s needs.
• Do not repeal Last-in, First-out (LIFO) accounting method.
• Delete IRC Section 263A of the IRS Code.
Beginning December 31, 2013, changes will be coming to the minimum wage level for many states. Defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25. However, the federal minimum wage level does not supersede any state or local laws.
The Internal Revenue Service set the 2014 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.
As more progressive farming operations have grasped new technologies to make producing the nation’s and world’s food supply more efficient, progressive equipment dealers and the companies they represent have strived to keep pace with the advancements in agricultural technology. GPS, precision agriculture and more recently, coordination by telematics, comprise the current generations of technological applications that most dealers are and have been assisting customers with for years.
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