Farmers have until December 31, 2009, to take advantage of the accelerated depreciation schedule for most farm equipment. The bonus depreciation measure (which reduced the depreciation schedule for most ag equipment from seven to five years) was extended until the end of 2009 under the economic stimulus package passed this year.

There is no guarantee the accelerated depreciation schedule will be extended again, says Paul Kindinger, president and CEO, North American Equipment Dealers Association (NAEDA). In fact, the measure almost did not pass this year. If the new economic stimulus package works, Congress will likely have less enthusiasm for an accelerated depreciation tool because it costs the U.S. Treasury and is supposed to be a temporary tool, Kindinger says.

The accelerated depreciation schedule definitely helps farmers who have had some good financial years recently and would rather invest income in new equipment than pay it in taxes, says Boyd Mitchell, general manager, Mitchell Equipment, a Case IH dealer in Atkinson, NE. NAEDA’s Kindinger agrees, noting that 2009 net farm income is expected to be the third or fourth largest in U.S. history.

To find out how your operation might benefit from the accelerated depreciation schedule, contact your local CPA or tax attorney.