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Klobuchar, Smith pen letter urging feds to provide farmers tax law guidance

U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tina Smith, D-Minn., are pushing the IRS and Department of Treasury to provide farmers long-overdue guidance on the Republican tax law before filing deadlines this year.

The GOP tax law passed in 2017 created substantial changes to the federal tax code for certain agricultural cooperatives. Yet despite promises from the Department of Treasury and the IRS that guidance would be issued by the end of 2018, it still has not been delivered.

In a letter to IRS commissioner Charles Rettig and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the senators emphasized that farmers have reported the lack of guidance might prevent them from filing taxes on time and without penalty.

"American farmers today face unprecedented challenges—falling crop prices, retaliatory tariffs, and changing climate patterns, to name just a few," the senators wrote. "In the midst of this economic and regulatory uncertainty, farmers should not have to face additional uncertainty from the IRS when filing their tax returns. Unfortunately, that is exactly where many farmers find themselves this tax season. ...

"The agricultural sector is a cornerstone of the U.S. economy, and we owe it to farmers and

ranchers to deliver a fair and predictable tax code," the letter continues. "Unfortunately, while some large companies may have the resources, attorneys, and accountants needed to navigate these complex new tax provisions for which regulations have not been written, smaller farms continue to bear the burden of this filing uncertainty—even with the April deadline extension. These smaller farmers should not be needlessly penalized because of the IRS's own administrative delays."

In addition to Smith and Klobuchar, the letter was also signed by Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.