January 13, 2010 04:12 AM

The Farmer's Tax Calendar

After nearly three decades of consulting with farmers on tax matters, Paul Neiffer of Hansen Neiffer CPAs & Consultants ( realized farmers need a tax calendar to know when the numerous reports and forms are due. Neiffer put together this calendar exclusively for Top Producer for 2010. You might want to cut it out and paste it on your office wall. —Jeanne Bernick

Tax Deadlines       
January 15: If farmer elects to pay using the estimated tax system, only the tax estimate due for the preceding calendar year is owed.
January 31: W-2s are due to employees. Annual payroll and state payroll tax reports are due.
February 28: W-2s and Form 1099s are required to be filed with Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration.
March 1: If farmer does not make estimated tax payments, if filed by this date, no penalty is owed for not paying estimates as long as farm income is two-thirds of gross income.
March 15: Corporation income tax returns are due (both C and S corporations), unless six-month extension is requested. That extension is automatic.
March 31: If filing electronically, W-2s and Form 1099s can be filed on this date instead of February 28.
April 15: Individual returns are due unless requesting automatic six-month extension.
April 15: Partnership tax returns are due, unless requesting automatic five-month extension.
April 15: Individual retirement contributions including Roth contributions must be made by this date to be deducted on previous year tax return.
July 31: Form 5500 for any pension plan is due unless extension to October 15 is requested.
September 15: Corporation and partnership returns with extensions are due. If late, $89 penalty per partner/shareholder per month is owed. Limited exceptions.
October 1: Latest date that a SIMPLE IRA plan (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) can be formed for current year.
October 15: Extended individual tax returns are due.
October 15: Extended Form 5500 pension plan returns are due.
> Note that any pension plan payment must be paid by the due date of the return, including extensions.

Click here for a printable PDF of the calendar


What Concerns You This Year?

Ohio State University specialists asked that question of commercial farmers, who said 65% were concerned about the cost of health insurance, 61% about the cost of farm inputs and 58% about the cost of farmland.

A similar survey was taken of rural residents, and 40% were concerned about the cost of health insurance, 40% were concerned about the cost of farmland and 29% about new housing developments nearby. Read the report at —Jeanne Bernick


Cellulosic Ethanol Costs Drop

Reductions in energy use, enzyme costs and raw material requirements for making cellulosic ethanol have dropped significantly for Poet, the world's largest ethanol producer. Per-gallon costs have fallen from $4.13 to $2.35 during the course of the past year, according to the company.

The company's goal is to be below $2 per gallon by the startup of its 25-million-gallon-per-year commercial cellulosic plant, Project Liberty, in Emmetsburg, Iowa. The plant is expected to begin commercial production later this year.

"Poet has been working on cellulosic ethanol for close to a decade, and there were some days that I wasn't sure we'd be successful,” says Jeff Broin, CEO of Poet. "While we still have some challenges ahead, I can say unequivocally that Project Liberty will be commercially viable by the time we start up the plant.”

Poet was able to achieve the savings in the production process by reducing the chemical raw materials required, resulting in an operating cost savings of 20¢ per gallon, and by decreasing the energy used in the pretreatment process by more than half.

Through continuous optimization of the process, entire unit operations have been eliminated, reducing overall capital cost by more than 40%, Broin says. —Jeanne Bernick


Inputs Return to Earth

The global financial crisis and ensuing recession created one of the most challenging environments the crop inputs industry has seen in decades, says Erin FitzPatrick, assistant vice president of Rabobank's research group. "Much of the pain has worked through the system for key input sectors, such as crop protection and fertilizers. Stocks have been depleted and prices have stabilized—at lower levels.”

The value of fertilizer purchases fell strongly in 2009, as farmers sought to reduce costs. "Lower application rates in 2009 suggest farmers will buy more fertilizer in 2010,” FitzPatrick says. "Seed expenditures actually rose close to 15%, while crop protection was up slightly.”

A look at the number of bushels of corn it takes to buy a metric ton of fertilizer reveals that urea and diammonium phosphate (DAP) have returned to below levels of 2004–2006. "Potash price has not returned to levels in January 2008, before the price runup began. It still takes 150 bu. of corn to buy a metric ton of potash—near the peak level.” –Linda H. Smith


Top Liners

"The 10% decline in U.S. ag exports was the first since the early 1980s. We see signs of recovering into 2010.”
Doug Whitehead, Rabobank International

"Too many leaders act as if the sheep are there for the benefit of the shepherd, not that the shepherd has responsibility for the sheep.” Ken Blanchard, author and management trainer/consultant 


Top Producer, January 2010


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