WASHINGTON, Nov. 18, 2015 - Farm groups are pushing Congress to hurry up and renew critical tax breaks such as the expanded Section 179 expensing allowance. Lawmakers say they are confident there will be action on the tax extenders next month but it’s not clear how long they will be kept in force.

Senate tax writers want to renew the extenders for this year and keep them in effect through 2016, a presidential election year. However, House Speaker Paul Ryan has favored making many of the extenders permanent, including Section 179, while scrapping others. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch told Agri-Pulse he thinks the House will go along with the two-year extension. “I think we’ve got to take care of this year and then next year … Paul Ryan knows that, and others do too,” Hatch said.

But Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong would say only that GOP leaders are working to get a consensus. “The speaker is not predetermining the outcome.”

Farm groups say the Section 179 allowance and an expired 50-percent bonus depreciation provision are critical to agriculture. “We appreciate the attention and debate given to tax extenders throughout the year, but we are concerned that failing to act soon will cause even more uncertainty for the agriculture industry,” the groups said in a letter to congressional leaders.

The letter was signed by groups representing a wide array of commodities from corn, cotton, rice and soybeans to beef, pork, poultry, peanuts, fruits and vegetables, and even mushrooms.

The expired tax benefits also include a $1-a-gallon tax credit for biodiesel, a $1.01-a-gallon incentive for cellulosic ethanol, and the production tax credit that subsidizes wind power.


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