NY farmers who donate produce may be eligible for tax credits

Posted 2 November 2018 at 7:00 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: Emilie Barleben (center), president of the FFA in 2016-17, and Rylie Lear, and Garrett Derisley move 50-pound bags of cabbage off the truck during the Albion FFA’s food drive in 2016. The FFA collected 35,000 pounds of food that was delivered to Community Action on East State Street in Albion last year, which was a new record. The 35,000 pounds passed the 33,000 pounds donated by farmers in 2016.

Press Release, NY Department of Agriculture and Markets

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball reminded farmers that their donations to emergency food programs can earn them refundable tax credits starting in the next tax year.  The tax credit program, launched by Governor Cuomo in January 2018, is expected to save farmers $10 million annually.

“As the fall harvest winds down, I want to remind farmers that they can help those in need while offsetting their costs by donating to qualified food banks, pantries and emergency food programs,” Commissioner Ball said. “It’s a win-win, helping to feed those in need and providing a boost to those who produce our abundant and nutritious farm foods and beverages. We appreciate Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature for taking this important step to support the generosity of farmers, who have donated at record rates for years.”

The tax credit, which is supported by the New York State Council on Hunger and Food Policy, can be claimed on donations of fresh fruit, vegetables, eggs, meat and some dairy products to qualified food pantries, food banks and other emergency food programs. Last year, New York State farmers donated more than 10 million pounds of food through the Harvest for All Feeding America Program.

Donations need to meet quality and labeling standards. The credit is equal to 25 percent of the fair market value of qualified donations, with a maximum benefit of $5,000 per year. An eligible farmer who makes qualified donations, with a fair market value of $12,000 this year would be allowed a 25 percent credit, equaling $3,000.

New York State Tax & Finance Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion said, “We’re proud to administer this beneficial tax credit to support our farmers and those who rely on food banks and pantries for healthful, locally grown meals.”

Those eligible to claim the refundable tax credit include business owners subject to New York State income tax, whose incomes are primarily from farming activity. Corporate franchise tax-payers and farmers who are in partnerships or are shareholders of a New York State corporation can also claim the credit.

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. More information on the guidelines and record-keeping requirements for farm donations to food pantries can be found by clicking here.

New York Farm Bureau President David Fisher said, “New York’s farmers have historically been generous with their food donations. The tax credit will help offset a portion of the costs to pick, package and deliver the fresh produce to regional food banks and pantries. We encourage farmers to take advantage of the credit, available for the first time this year, and to always think about their local food banks as an opportunity to increase the availability of healthy, local food to New Yorkers in need.”

The tax credit builds on other steps the state has taken to encourage growth and profitability for New York’s farmers, including the Farm Workforce Retention Credit, which is estimated to save another $14 million annually.

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