Tax Policy:

Economic Effects of Selected Current Tax Provisions on Agriculture

GGD-86-126BR: Published: Aug 11, 1986. Publicly Released: Aug 11, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on how current tax law affects the agricultural sector, specifically: (1) the distribution of farms and income; (2) farm profits and losses claimed by individual taxpayers; (3) the economic effects of selected tax provisions; and (4) the amount and distribution of nonfarm income reported by taxpayers filing a Schedule F Form.

GAO found that: (1) in 1984, the number of farms was approximately 2.3 million; (2) 60 percent of U.S. farms were small farms with annual sales of less than $20,000; (3) 4.6 percent of all farms had annual sales of $250,000 and accounted for almost half of the gross cash farm income; (4) in 1983, 2.7 million taxpayers reported farm income and losses and net farm losses exceeded net farm profits by approximately $9.3 billion; (5) under current tax laws, favorable taxation of farm capital has contributed to greater farm output and lower farm prices; (6) proposed tax reform legislation would result in less farm output and higher farm prices; and (7) 90 percent of the 2.7 million individuals who reported farm income and losses in 1982 had nonfarm incomes of $50,000 or less, while 35 percent had nonfarm incomes of $10,000 or less.

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