Farmers Need to Certify Utility Meters for Sales Tax Exemption
Farmers who are eligible for the sales tax exemption on utilities detailed in Act 1441 of 2013 (HB 1039) that was passed during the 2013 legislative session will need to get their utility accounts and meters certified by the Arkansas Department of Finance and Administration in order to receive their exemption. Farmers will submit their paperwork to DF&A for certification. The agency will then send farmers a certificate that farmers provide to their utility companies. The exemption starts January 1, 2014 but utility providers will not apply the exemption without proper documentation.
DF&A’s goal is to start sending certificates in late November or early December.
Act 1441 of 2013 provides an exemption from state and local sales taxes for electricity, natural gas, and liquefied petroleum gas used by qualifying agricultural structures and qualifying aquaculture and horticulture equipment beginning January 1, 2014.
The eligible utility must be separately metered and used only for the purpose of the exemption. If a utility is sold for any other purpose, it will not be eligible for the exemption. Multiple use meters that provide the utility services for both eligible farm structures and facilities and for other types of structures, facilities or equipment are not eligible for the exemption. Before the exemption is allowed, the farmer seeking the exemption must obtain a certificate from DFA to provide to the utility supplier.
Fact Sheet on who qualifies for Act 1441
The forms to obtain the necessary certificate are linked here.
(Save PDF form locally to your computer then open with Adobe Reader, it will not open in an internet browser)
To complete the forms, you will need the federal NAICS code for your business. We have prepared an abbreviated list of NAICS codes to help. If you do not see your code it can be found at http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/sssd/naics/naicsrch?chart_code=11&search=2012 NAICS Search
Upon completion, they need to be returned to Sales and Use Tax Section, P O Box 3566, Little Rock, AR 72203-3566
If you have questions about the forms, you can call DF&A at 501-682-7105 or email them through the website www.dfa.arkansas.gov
If a farmer does not have their meters certified by January 1, 2014,
there are ways to reclaim those tax dollars. This process applies only
to Act 1441. Farmers eligible for Act 1401 (sales tax exemption for
utilities used in grain storage and drying) will complete a similar
process next spring. Act 1401 does not take effect until July 1, 2014.
DF&A does not have that paperwork quite ready yet and is not ready
to process those requests.
Fiscal Session Underway
The state’s third fiscal session began quietly on Monday with little of the pomp that accompanies a regular session. With the session limited to appropriation only legislation, the flow and workload of the session is very different from a regular session.
Legislators may introduce other legislation if the General Assembly approves resolutions allowing such filings. It takes a two-thirds vote of both chambers to approve the introduction of those bills. Legislators filed a couple dozen resolutions but quickly narrowed it down to just a few non-appropriation introductions. They will allow the introduction of several Revenue Stabilization Acts (budget bill), a bill to join a multi-state compact supporting a balanced budget, a bill to allow the Governor to not call a special election for Lt. Governor, and a bill to approve the ballot titles for the constitutional amendments referred by the legislature.
There is no doubt that the biggest question of the session is will they vote to continue funding the “private option.” The Senate and House are both believed to be within 1 or 2 votes of having the 75 percent necessary to pass the appropriation.
Nearly 97,000 Arkansans are currently enrolled in the private option. The Department of Human Services estimates that more than 200,000 Arkansans are eligible. Arkansans at 138 percent or below of the Federal Poverty Line ($15,860 for an individual household or $32,500 for a family of four) are eligible for the private option.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Special Language Committee met to consider special language directives for legislation concerning the private option. In a packed room of the Big Mac building, the Special Language Committee adopted language proposed by Rep. Nate Bell to halt all promotion of the private option, ending advertising, direct mail and navigators for the exchange marketplace. This would limit future growth in enrollment, particularly by eliminating the direct mail piece. Many current enrollees in the private-option-eligible population were contacted via direct mail. The exchange marketplace will continue no matter the final outcome of the private option funding, but the growth would undoubtedly slow with no promotion. Bell told the committee that his vote for private option funding for this fiscal year is secured by passage of the amendment. He was careful to state that he continues to oppose the private option. However, he believes that the amendment is the only way to avoid gridlock since both sides have the votes to block a bill they don’t support.
DHS Director John Selig said that his department didn’t like the amendment but felt it was better than abruptly ending insurance coverage for 100,000 people. The Governor and Speaker Carter both said that while they oppose the Bell amendment, they were willing to accept it as a way to move forward.
Rep. Burris then offered special language to add pressure to seek federal waivers for three issuesrelated to private option participants:
? A transportation exemption which would provide a waiver for the non-emergency transportation of patients to care when the patient is unable to provide their own transportation.
? A waiver that would allow co-pay requirements for patients between 50-100 percent of the Federal Poverty Line
? Permission to establish some kind of health care savings accounts for those in the private option.
This special language was also approved. Burris’ special language appears to be mostly a reinforcement of language passed in last year’s bill.
The special language instructions do not guarantee passage of the appropriation but the bills will be up for the first vote early next week. Many legislators were unhappy with Bell’s proposal to eliminate promotion of the program so it is possible that some “yes” votes are now undecided. In 2013, the House voted multiple times before they reached needed votes for final passage. Much like last session the pressure is on to pass the appropriation.
Speaker Carter has filed HCR 1002 which provides for the General Assembly to recess on March 19, 2014 and return on March 26, 2014 for sine die adjournment. This would put the General Assembly at their maximum days possible for the fiscal session. As Rep. Gillam said when presenting the resolution, this does not mean they will absolutely continue to March 19 or beyond. It simply gives them the option.
The bill filing deadline for all bills is February 24. That date coincides with the beginning of filing to run for elected offices.
Statewide Measure the Candidate
Farm Bureau leaders are encouraged to attend a statewide Measure the Candidate meeting in North Little Rock on April 22. Candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, Governor and other state constitutional offices will be invited.
State Water Plan Meetings
Arkansas State Water Plan meetings are going on around the state in the next couple of weeks. Agendas and more information can be found at http://www.arwaterplan.arkansas.gov/meetings.html.
East Region - Jonesboro - 18 February,
Fairbridge Inn and Suites (used to be the Holiday Inn), 3006 South Caraway Rd., Jonesboro, AR
North Region - Mountain View - 19 February
Extension Building at Fairgrounds, 210 Warren St., Mountain View, AR
West-Central Region - Russellville - 20 February
Lake Point Conference Center, 171 Lake Point Lane, Russellville, AR
South-Central Region - Hot Springs - 24 February
National Park Community College, 101 College Dr., Hot Springs, AR
Southwest Region - Texarkana - 25 February
Four States Fairgrounds, Agri Learning Center, 3700 East 50th St., Texarkana, AR
Farm Truck Regs
Farm Bureau recently unveiled a new publication called Farm Truck Regs. It includes condensed information about hauling agriculture commodities and regulations applied to farm trucks. Printed copies are available upon request. For a quick view of the publication visit http://www.arfb.com/legislation-regulations/truckregs_and_highwayinfo.aspx.
Game and Fish Regulations
As part of its annual regulations-setting process, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s (AGFC) Wildlife Management Division requests public input on a variety of possible regulations changes before presenting them to the Commission for consideration.
Increasing feral hog populations and disease transmission continue to be a concern for commercial swine producers, especially with the recent PEDV outbreak across the country. National Parks and Forests along with AGFC wildlife management areas (WMAs) are becoming sanctuaries and breeding grounds for feral hogs due to hunting restrictions and, in some cases, prohibitions. USDA-APHIS has been successful at noticeably reducing feral hog populations, killing 200-300 at a time, only to see these reductions vanish during one hunting season.
As all property owners know, feral hogs are destructive to the land and compete with other species both domesticated and wildlife for food.
The AGFC’s public comment period provides an opportunity for landowners to provide input on feral hogs.
The following link will take you to a survey prepared for the 18 proposals for the 2014-15 general hunting season. There is also a space at the end for any additional comments you may have.
Farm Bureau is asking farmers to consider offering comments concerning feral hogs. The online survey is through survey monkey at this link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2014-15HuntRegsComments
Well Registration Fees
Arkansas Farm Bureau wants to remind farmers who have wells to be sure their well registration fees ($10 per well per year) and water usage reports are current per Arkansas Natural Resources Commission requirements. If you are uncertain whether or not this is applicable to your farm, consult with your county conservation district office.
If your well registration fees and water usage report are paid and up to date by Feb. 28, 2014, the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission will waive associated penalties and fines. Those who fail to register and report water usage by February 28 will be subject to late registration penalties up to $500 for each unreported year.
For additional assistance, contact Evan Teague, ArFB’s environmental specialist, at email@example.com.
Notification Requirements of the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act requires all employers with more than
$500,000 in annual gross receipts to provide their employees with an
“Exchange Notice” by October 1. The notice must be provided to all
current and new full-time and part-time employees, including H2A
workers, and seasonal employees. This notice is required regardless of
whether or not an employer offers health insurance to their employee(s).
The fact sheet below has been developed for farm employers, offering
guidance on how to comply with this new and ongoing requirement. Also
below are sample forms that employers can use to provide the required
With the pending deadline quickly approaching, we wanted to take this
opportunity to remind our members of this requirement. More information
is also available through the U.S. Department of Labor.
Fact Sheet for Farm Employers.pdf
Sample Notice Form for Employers NOT Providing Coverage.pdf
Sample Notice Form for Employers Providing Coverage.pdf
Sample Notice No. 3
Legislative Summary for the first session of the Eighty-ninth General Assembly
The 89th General Assembly wrapped up officially on May 17. Farm Bureau has prepared a summary on issues impacting agriculture and rural Arkansas. The legislature dealt with a huge volume of bills and issues so the summary is in no way comprehensive. Many of the issues that were in the headlines are not covered in the summary simply because they were adequately covered elsewhere.
Arkansas Farm Bureau Legislative Summary
The legislature passed a number of tax cuts during the 2013 session. We have prepared a spreadsheet that lists the agriculture related cuts and their effective dates.
Agriculture Tax Cuts.pdf
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