If you earn money managing or working on a farm, you are in the farming business. Farms include plantations, ranches, ranges and orchards. Farmers may raise livestock, poultry or fish, or grow fruits or vegetables. Here are 10 things about farm income and expenses that the IRS wants you to know.

  1. Crop insurance proceeds. Insurance payments from crop damage count as income. They should generally be reported the year they are received.
  2. Deductible farm expenses. Farmers can deduct ordinary and necessary expenses as business expenses. An ordinary farming expense is one that is common and accepted in the farming business. A necessary expense is one that is appropriate for that business.
  3. Employees and hired help. You can deduct reasonable wages you paid to your farm's full and part-time workers. You must withhold Social Security, Medicare and income taxes from your employees' wages.
  4. Items purchased for resale. If you purchased livestock and other items for resale, you may be able to deduct their cost in the year of the sale. This includes freight charges for transporting livestock to your farm.
  5. Repayment of loans. You can only deduct the interest you paid on a loan if the loan proceeds are used for your farming business. You cannot deduct interest on a loan used for personal expenses.
  6. Weather-related sales. Bad weather may force you to sell more livestock or poultry than you normally would. If so, you may be able to postpone reporting a gain from the sale of the additional animals.
  7. Net operating losses. If deductible expenses are more than income for the year, you may have a net operating loss. You can carry that loss over to other years and deduct it. You may get a refund of part or all of the income tax you paid for past years, or you may be able to reduce your tax in future years.
  8. Farm income averaging. You may be able to average some or all of the current year's farm income by spreading it out over the past three years. This may lower your taxes if your farm income is high in the current year and low in one or more of the past three years. This method does not change your prior year tax. It only uses the prior year information to figure your current year tax.
  9. Fuel and road use. You may be able to claim a tax credit or refund of federal excise taxes on fuel used on your farm for farm work.
  10. Farmers Tax Guide. More information about farm income and deductions is in Publication 225, Farmer's Tax Guide. You can download it at IRS.gov, or call the IRS at 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676) to have it mailed to you.

TaxACT Free Federal Edition guides you through farming-related tax topics while completing Schedule F and other appropriate tax forms for you. If you need help along the way, get answers in the Answer Center, online at www.taxact.com or from TaxPayer Support Specialists via email. Start your free federal return now.

Additional IRS Resources:

May 2015
S M T W T F S
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31

Upcoming Tax Dates

May 11 Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during April, report them to your employer - Details

May 11 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
File Form 941 for the first quarter of 2015. This due date applies only if you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full.

May 12 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the first 15 days of April.

May 14 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the last 15 days of April.

May 15 Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 15 Nonpayroll withholding
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in April.

May 28 Communications and air transportation taxes under the alternative method
Deposit the tax included in amounts billed or tickets sold during the last 15 days of April.

May 29 Regular method taxes
Deposit the tax for the first 15 days of May.

View More Tax Dates