Judge: not all farm expenses are tax deductible

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A probate court incorrectly allowed an estate to deduct three farm-related expenses from its inheritance tax return, but affirmed the deduction of the remaining nine in question, the Indiana Tax Court ruled Tuesday.

Curtis Daugherty inherited his uncle’s farm following the uncle’s death. He was also the personal representative of the uncle’s estate. The farm was in disrepair and he made many repairs and improvements to it. In filing the inheritance tax return, the estate claimed numerous deductions, including farming-related expenses. The probate court accepted the return as filed.

The Indiana Department of State Revenue asked the probate court for a rehearing on the filing because it believed some of the farm-related deductions were improper. The estate filed a counterclaim to deduct 10 more farm-related expenses and alleged that the regulation the department relied on to preclude the deductions was invalid. The probate court upheld its earlier ruling and also found the estate’s counterclaim was untimely.

In Indiana Dept. of Revenue v. Estate of Bernard A. Daugherty, No. 49T10-0909-TA-49, Tax Judge Thomas Fisher affirmed the denial of the estate’s motion to dismiss the department’s claim. The department alleged the farming-related deductions were improper pursuant to 45 IAC 4.1-3-11. The estate claimed that regulation is invalid. The probate court, in applying the same rules of construction that apply to statutes, held the regulation was presumed to be valid until the estate demonstrated otherwise. Since the estate argued the burden of proof was on the department to prove the statute wasn’t invalid, the estate didn’t show the statute was invalid.

Judge Fisher also affirmed that the probate court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the estate’s counterclaim to add 10 more farming-related deductions. He rejected the estate’s argument that because its compulsory counterclaim was timely filed, Indiana Trial Rule 13 extended the 120-day statute of limitations for filing its own petition for rehearing. Because the estate sought affirmative relief with a counterclaim filed 128 days after the probate court’s initial determination, there was no error in finding the counterclaim was time-barred.

The probate court incorrectly allowed all 12 farming-related deductions. The deductions for clay drainage tiles, electrical repairs, grain bin repairs, and pole barn repairs were proper, as those expenditures were incurred during the course of administering the estate and were done to preserve, maintain, and repair the assets of the farm. The expenses related to the fertilizer bill, a pre-existing debt, were also deductible.

However, Curtis’ three expenditures for wheat spray weren’t deductible because he incurred those expenses while operating the farming business, wrote the judge. He remanded for the calculation of the proper amount of inheritance tax and interest due from the estate.


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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.