Tax credits available for St. Lawrence County farmers
New York state officials say farmers can take advantage of several tax credit programs designed to help offset business and labor costs for the agricultural industry for the 2018 tax season.
The New York State Department of Labor’s Youth Jobs Program and the New York State Tax & Finance Department’s Farm Workforce Retention Credit and Minimum Wage Reimbursement Program are among the nearly one dozen credit and exemption programs available to assist agricultural business owners.As of this tax year, the Farm Workforce Retention Credit has increased to $300 per eligible farm employee who is working at least 500 hours annually. It will increase to $500 in the 2019 tax year. The Retention Credit, which may not be combined with other tax credit programs, is expected to save farmers an estimated $14 million in 2018, state officials said.
The Minimum Wage Reimbursement Tax Credit is available to farms that employ students ages 16 to 20 for the 2018 tax year and are paid at the New York minimum wage rate. The credit is equal to the total number of hours worked by the employees during the taxable year for which they are paid the New York minimum wage, multiplied by the applicable tax credit rate for that year, which is $1.35 for 2018. A farm that has six youth employees, working 500 hours through the summer, can claim approximately $4,000 in credits. In 2014, the latest year for which complete data is available, New York state issued nearly $5 million in minimum wage reimbursement tax credits.
Similarly, the goal of the NYS Department of Labor’s New York Youth Jobs Program is to help disadvantaged young people get started and encourage businesses, including farms, to provide them with the opportunity to work and acquire critical workforce skills for the future. The program was recently expanded statewide and participating farms can receive tax credits of up to $5,000 to hire eligible new, full-time employees between the ages of 16 and 24 who meet the criteria of the program. Credits of up to $2,500 are available for part-time employees who meet the criteria.
Both farms and employees need to be certificated to participate in the New York Youth Jobs Program. To apply, businesses should complete the online application by November 30 at www.labor.ny.gov/youthjobs. For more information about the program, call 1-877-226-5724 or e-mail: [email protected].
New York State also rolled out a new tax credit this year, announcing New York farmers are eligible to receive a tax credit for qualifying food donations made to food banks and other emergency food programs beginning January 1, 2018. The tax credit is expected to save farmers a total of $10 million annually.
The tax credit, which is supported by the New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy, is a refundable credit equal to 25 percent of the fair market value of qualified donations up to $5,000. Eligible donations include fresh fruits and vegetables grown or produced in New York State and provided to emergency food programs that qualify for tax exempt status. To claim the credit, the taxpayer must receive proof of the donation in the form of a receipt or written acknowledgment from the eligible food program.
A fact sheet on eligibility requirements for the tax credit is available here. For additional tax credit and exemption programs available through the Department of Tax & Finance, agri-businesses can visit https://www.tax.ny.gov/bus/business-incentives.htm and choose Farming and Agriculture.
In addition to the tax credit programs the agency administers, the NYS Department of Labor provides valuable services and programs that offer all business owners the chance to reduce costs and connect to the skilled workforce they require. It also manages the State Registered Apprenticeship and On-the-Job Training programs. Farms can take advantage of the agency’s On-Site Consultation Program, which helps employers provide a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. Each year, the On-Site Consultation Program staff help thousands of businesses across the State by providing no-cost guidance that can help them avoid thousands in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines and penalties.
To learn more, visit https://labor.ny.gov/businessservices/landing.shtm.