Jul 1, 2020      News      

Editorial: Helt’s bill makes important changes for farmers

The recent Oregon special session wasn’t all about police reform. Legislators also made important tweaks to the corporate activity tax for farmers in a bill, House Bill 4202, sponsored by State Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend.

Oregon’s corporate activity tax or CAT is a tax on the total amount a business realizes from transactions and activity in Oregon. It’s not a tax on profits. It’s a tax on money that comes in or what is called gross receipts. While the CAT may raise a lot of money for Oregon schools — it was hoped it would raise a $1 billion a year, businesses can get hit hard if they aren’t making a profit or have narrow profit margins. The tax is $250 plus 0.57% of Oregon commercial activity of more than $1 million.

Helt’s bill changed a couple of the ways the CAT hits farmers. It made a fix so that crop insurance payments for drought, wildfire or other disasters would not be included in gross receipts. It made a second fix that helped farmers get credit for expenses to reduce their tax liability. It made a third fix to help when a farmer’s commodities are commingled with others and it’s difficult to determine tax liability. The revenue impact to the state is estimated to be about $500,000 a year.

Some people wanted more comprehensive changes to the CAT, especially because many businesses have been struggling during the pandemic. This bill managed to pass with bipartisan support. It’s progress.

Read the full story HERE.