The following commentary does not necessarily reflect the views of AgWeb or Farm Journal Media. The opinions expressed below are the author's own.
Paul is now part of the fourth generation in America that is involved in farming and hopes the next generation will be involved also. Through his blog he provides analysis and insight to farmer tax questions.
Until about two years ago, farmers could have been in a battle with the IRS concerning whether a repair was really a repair or an asset that needed to be depreciated. Beginning in late 2010 and through 2011, 100% bonus depreciation applied for any new purchase including what might have been classified as a repair by the farmer and an asset by the IRS. This led to most farmers not caring if a repair was a repair or not since in either case it was fully deductible.
Now, for 2012, we only have 50% bonus depreciation and Section 179 is limited to $139,000, so I would expect there to be a lot more repairs by farmers. Some of the repair rules have been loosened up and if you think you might need more "repairs" this year, make sure to review this with your tax advisor to make sure the repair is really a repair, otherwise the IRS may surprise you later on and classify it as an asset depreciable over 7 years or more. That can be costly.
This is also another area where proper documentation can be helpful. By documenting what was repaired and why, etc. you are more likely to withstand an IRS audit than having the wrong or no documentation.
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