Senate Committee Advances Bills Clarifying Sales Tax Exemptions for MAVs, Deer Farms

A pair of Pennsylvania Farm Bureau-supported bills that clarify sales tax exemptions related to deer farming and multipurpose agricultural vehicles (or MAVs) are on track to be considered by the state Senate.

The state Senate Finance Committee voted unanimously to advance Senate Bill 325, which deals is sales taxes on MAVS, and voted 7-4 to advance Senate Bill 343, which related to deer farms. Both bills now head to the full chamber for consideration.

Senate Bill 325, sponsored by Sen. Judy Ward of Blair County, clarifies when purchases of MAVs for agricultural purposes are exempt from state sales taxes. Farmers receive a sales tax exemption when purchasing MAVs to be used primarily for farming. However, the state Department of Revenue has a narrow definition of what is considered a farming activity. Many farm chores—maintaining and repairing pasture fencing, for example—fall outside of the department’s definition.

PFB has heard from an increasing number of members who have faced state tax audits after claiming the exemption for MAVs used on the farm and had to pay state sales tax because their use of the equipment did not meet the department’s criteria for farming. The bill would expand the scope of activities considered “farming” to include the wide range of ways MAVs can be used on a farm to support the farmer and their business.

Senate Bill 343, sponsored by Sen. Doug Mastriano of Franklin County, would clarify that farmers who raise deer and other cervids are eligible for the sales tax exemption for livestock regardless of how the animals are used. Currently, farmers who raise cervids for meat can claim the sales tax exemption but those raising animals for lures, antlers, breeding, or controlled hunting cannot.