November 27, 2014

The Tax Man Cometh – and So Does Spring Calving

Starting off 2012, as in most years, my thoughts turned to getting together my “stuff” from the year 2011 for the tax preparer. And, as in most years, my tendency was, to put it off to another day. As my wife’s motto says, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow, ‘cause if there’s no tomorrow, there’d be no use in doing it today!”

But, then I think, I have computer programs which have helped me keep records throughout the year and all I need to do is generate the information needed by the tax man from those programs.

In years past, preparing information for the tax man consisted of about a week of digging through files, pulling out receipts, invoices, etc., trying to organize them into some orderly system, then putting all that “stuff” in a shoe box, taking it to my tax man. He was usually not smiling when I put the shoe box on his desk. He knew there was a lot of work ahead of him!

Now, I go to my computer, open my CattleMax cattle software program on which I keep my cattle records, generate a cattle inventory for the end of the year, a death report, purchase report, and sales report. Then, I open Quicken®, in which I keep my financial records, and generate a register report –taxes, and what usually was contained in the shoebox in a somewhat disorderly mess, is in a neat file folder in just a few pages.

And, all that is done before receiving the 1099s, interest paid, interest income reports from banks, etc.

I don’t say I’m an expert at gathering information for taxes, but it sure is a lot easier these days than it was a number of years ago.

In relation to taxes, many cattle raisers, like myself, are small operators who have a hard time generating profit from the enterprise. The Internal Revenue Service seems to take a dim view of those who work full time at another job or profession, then try to claim their cattle operation is a for-profit enterprise. In an interesting article from Cattle Today, February, 2007, John Alan Cohan, Attorney at Law, offers tips for livestock owners for helping meet IRS guidelines.

Spring time calving
About the same time as “tax time,” comes spring calving for many cattle raisers, in fact, on my farm, located in west central Texas, “spring calving” begins in January. I know that is not true of more northern operations, but no matter where we’re located, preparations need to be made for those new calves.

Tom Troxel, PhD, University of Arkansas, offers a number of management tips for spring-calving beef herds in an article dated January 4, 2012. Click to read the full article, Tips for Spring-Calving Herds.

Are you prepared for the tax man and spring calving?

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