Mark O’Neill, Media and Strategic Communications Director
510 S. 31st Street , Camp Hill, PA 17001 • 717.761.2740 • Email • @pfbmediaone
For Immediate Release: October 31, 2016
(Camp Hill) – Legislation strongly supported by Pennsylvania Farm Bureau should benefit a variety of farm families across the Commonwealth. The state General Assembly recently passed House Bills 2370 and 2025, as well as legislative amendments to local income tax rules contained in Senate Bill 356 and House Bill 245.
House Bill 2370 extends the exemption from realty transfer tax for sales of agriculture conservation easements on farms to transfers occurring on or after December 31, 2012. The legislation was needed despite the enactment of Act 84 earlier this year. Act 84 only applied the exemption to transfers occurring after September 11, 2016.
“A decision by the Department of Revenue’s Board of Appeals created a small window of time during which farm families were required to pay the tax. The legislation will provide relief for nearly 250 family farms, which have already paid or would have been responsible for paying about $1.3 million in transfer taxes,” said PFB President Rick Ebert. “Families that have already paid the tax will be eligible for a refund with the new retroactive language in the bill.”
HB 2025 contains language that specifically exempts employees of agribusinesses with a Class A commercial driver’s license from being required to have a hazardous materials license endorsement when transporting 1,000 gallons or less of diesel fuel in the course of their employment.
“It’s not unusual for farmers or people employed by custom farm harvesting, farm retail, farm supply or livestock feeding businesses to transport limited quantities of diesel fuel as part of their job. The change is in line with federal transportation standards, and the vehicle still needs to be marked with a ‘flammable’ or ‘combustible’ placard,” added Ebert.
Meanwhile, SB 356 and HB 245 establish uniform rules that are more consistent with the state's income tax filing rules by allowing farmers the option to make a single filing and payment of estimated taxes, instead of quarterly filing and payments; providing a “safe harbor” allowance for the payment of estimated taxes based on the taxpayers income from the previous year; providing an option for paper filing of income and estimated tax returns; conforming the filing and payment deadlines of estimated taxes to state and federal deadlines; and allowing farmers to use standardized tax return forms, instead of requiring them to use a form specifically developed by an individual local taxing district.
“The legislative changes should reduce the stress and hassle of filing local tax returns for farm families and also help reduce expenses associated with preparing tax returns,” concluded Ebert.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is the state’s largest farm organization with a volunteer membership of nearly 62,000 farm and rural families, representing farms of every size and commodity across Pennsylvania.