Former MF Global account holders struggle to file taxes

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, February 29, 2012 -Tax season brings additional anxiety to farmers and ranchers with losses in the MF Global collapse. Many are struggling to receive 1099 forms for their taxes to help prepare their returns for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The trustee appointed for the liquidation of MF Global, James Giddens, requested extensions for mailing the forms last month.

Most farmers face a March 1 deadline to file their tax returns. Those who earned at least two- thirds of their income from farming and did not estimate what they owed in mid-January must file self-employed returns to the IRS by that deadline.

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“Former MF Global customers face a myriad of intricate issues relating to how to account for their frozen and potentially stolen assets,” according to John Roe, co-founder of the Commodity Customer Coalition, a non-profit advocacy group formed in the wake of MF Global's collapse.

MF Global filed for bankruptcy late last October after revealing that hundreds of millions of dollars from segregated customer accounts had gone missing. Giddens, the trustee appointed by the court, was able to return approximately 72 percent of the whole of customer losses. Many former account holders, like Kansas wheat farmer Steve Clanton, are still missing more than 30 percent of their margin funds they placed in MF Global customer accounts.

The Commodity Customer Coalition requested that the IRS provide tax guidance and “safe harbor” treatment for customers with losses in MF Global.

“MF Global's pool of claimants and the complexity of their tax situations are at least as diverse as those in the Madoff case,” said Roe in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman. “We implore the IRS to be as proactive in providing relief for MF Global's victims as it was for Mr. Madoff ‘s.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Ranking

Member Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, sent a letter to the Commissioner with similar sentiments.

“Former MF Global customers are still waiting for 1099 forms detailing gains and losses to their accounts in 2011,” according to the senators' letter to Shulman. “The court-appointed trustee applied for and received two extensions from your agency, but the former customers of MF Global must still pay their taxes on time.”

“Many of these customers are farmers and ranchers who have significant planting responsibilities in the spring and we urge your agency to respect the difficult time constraints they are under,” continued the letter.

IRS guidance for filing a tax return without 1099 forms is available by clicking HERE.

On Jan. 31, Giddens requested a 30-day extension for the filing and mailing of Forms 1099- MISC, 1099-INT, and 1099-DIV. On Feb. 15, he requested the IRS grant a 30-day extension for filing and mailing Forms 1099-B.

As of Feb. 23, Giddens' office said he completed and mailed all Forms 1099-MISC to recipients.


Original story printed in February 29, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.

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