Unusual third assessment for Livestock Tax Deferral

WINNIPEG – In an unusual move Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has undertaken a third assessment for the Livestock Tax Deferral.

“Federal officials are currently finalizing the analysis to identify whether any additional regions have met the criteria for the Livestock Tax Deferral,” said Agriculture Canada spokesperson James Watson.

Under the Livestock Tax Deferral, cattle producers affected by severe drought, or flood, can defer a portion of their income earned from selling part of their herd provided they are in an area that meets Agriculture Canada’s requirements.

Parts of six provinces, stricken by drought in 2018, were included the initial assessment in September – British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and New Brunswick. Additional parts of those provinces were included after the second assessment in November.

Once the analysis of the third assessment is completed and should new areas are to be added, Watson said Agriculture Canada will announce their findings on the Livestock Tax Deferral website.

The idea of a third assessment was something of a surprise to Brady Stadnicki, policy analyst with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA).

“I think it’s a bit rare for the third assessment,” he said.

However Stadnicki is hoping parts of Ontario, which were not part of the previous two assessments, will be added in the third. These include Leeds and Grenville United Counties, the counties in Manitoulin District, Grey County and others. He said requests were made to Ontario’s agriculture minister to push the federal government to have the province included on the previous assessments.

Also, Stadnicki said there were parts of News Brunswick the CCA wants added as well and Nathan Phinney, chair of the New Brunswick Cattle Producers agreed. He pointed to the northwest corner of the province, especially around the Edmundston area, was particularly drought stricken.

The general manager of the Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP), Brian Lemon, concurred a third assessment for the Livestock Tax Deferral is unusual and noted two assessments are generally “the norm.” Nevertheless he is pleased more areas of Manitoba could be added.

One concern Stadnicki, Phinney and Lemon share in regards to the Livestock Tax Deferral is geographical boundaries Agriculture Canada uses for its assessments. Municipal boundaries were used in the three Prairie provinces, while consolidated census subdivisions were used in British Columbia, Quebec and New Brunswick. But often smaller areas within those boundaries are stricken with drought are overlooked and not eligible for the deferral, the trio said.

“Perhaps municipalities are not the appropriate unit for assessing the Livestock Tax Deferral?” Lemon questioned, noting this has been an issue often discussed at MBP district meetings.

“It could be more producer specific. There seemed to be so many little pockets here and there,” Phinney said of New Brunswick.

Stadnicki commented the assessment method, “sometimes leaves a few out that should be included.”

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