January 18th, 2021

Timely tax filing can help eligibility for ag support programs

By Jensen, Randy on May 13, 2020.

Many support programs available for farmers


Even though the federal government has extended the personal tax-filing deadline until June 1 and corporate tax filing deadline in some circumstances, many farmers will benefit from getting their year-end financial work done well before these deadlines. If you are expecting a tax refund, doing the work now will mean a quicker refund to help with cash flow. The other reason to complete your year-end sooner is to ensure you get any eligible benefits of the AgriStability program quicker.

The AgriStability program is the federal support program for farms based on a decline in margins. In other words, your allowable income minus your allowable expenses in a given year, with adjustments for changes in receivables, payables and inventory. These adjustments are made based on information you submit on the AgriStability supplementary schedules. If you are already in AgriStability and eligible for benefits you need to submit those forms with 2019 information by certain established dates set by each province.

Farmers should be aware many support programs are currently available to them due to the COVID19 pandemic, says Dennis Sudo, a BDO accountant and partner in Lethbridge, in a release. Details are in progress of being developed and released. In many cases the way in which these payments will be provided to the producer is not yet known. However, it is likely some of these supports will be allocated through the AgriStability program.

Some of these support programs include increased advance payments for potato producers and pork producers. Compensation for cattle producers for extraordinary costs associated with backed-up inventory as well as a new feed cattle set-aside program.

Therefore, producers need to keep a close eye on these support programs says Sudo. Good resources include the Canadian Agriculture Partnership in Alberta website https://cap.alberta.ca/CAP and AFSC https://afsc.ca/.

If producers are not in AgriStability, they need to assess their specific situation and determine if there will be benefit to opt-in to the program, Sudo says.

The AgriStability program in Alberta is delivered provincially through AFSC. The deadline to opt-in to the program has been extended to July 3. In order to opt-in to the program the producer needs to fill out both the AgriStability Application for Fee notice and the AgriStability Participant Declaration form and submit them to AFSC prior to the July 3 deadline.

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