Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Question of Taxes

From Illinois farmdocdaily, comes this observation, based on their surveys of farmer's accounts, comparing 2001-5 with 2006-10:
It would seem that to add over $100,000 in net farm income while adding just under $6,000 in income and social security taxes doesn’t quite add up! We know that tax rates…even at their lowest…are not at the 6% level. What gives?
 The writer goes on to offer some possibilities, some of which amount to farmers deferring tax liabilities down the road, and warns of a possible day of reckoning (my words, not his). 

I hate to be cynical about the hardworking people in American's heartland, the truest of all Americans, but it might just be that one or two of the farmers is indulging in that oldest of American pastimes, the pursuit of which led directly to our Revolution: fudging on one's taxes.

I'm sure no one in Congress is going to suggest adding one or two auditors to the IRS as a partial fix to the budget.

(To be fair, I should note my understanding of federal tax laws as they apply to farmers is very close to zero.)

One question: if farmers have to pay self-employed SS taxes of 13.3 percent on income less than $102K, shouldn't one expect to see more than $19000 social security and income taxes paid on over $200,000 income? What are the limits to deferring income?

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