Personal property tax measures are on the move in both the Indiana House and Senate with separate proposals moving out of committees this past week. Indiana Farm Bureau is supporting SB 1 and HB 1001. According to Katrina Hall at IFB both provide a starting point for some tax relief for capital intense farming operations.
“Most farmers or their landlord have a lot of money tied up in capital expenditure of land. That’s not the only asset that they need to put out a crop and to harvest that, so it’s very common for farmers to have considerable, with many zeros behind it, invested in the equipment that’s required to have a farming operation,” she told HAT. “So the personal property taxes that they pay are often times very high in addition to the real estate tax they pay.”
But Farm Bureau does not support elimination of personal property taxes until replacement revenue can be demonstrated.
“The proposal on the table in the House for example, it’s a local option, so if a county decided that they wanted to eliminate personal property to create a more fair burden if they simply don’t think business personal property tax is a fair tax or one that they want in their economy, then they can do that. But our concern is that if all of that was eliminated that there would be shifts involved and our members would end up paying more real estate tax. So it is a delicate balance.”
Bill descriptions from IFB:
SB 1, authored by Sen. Hershman (R-Buck Creek), exempts taxpayers with $25,000 or less in personal property from property tax. He indicated that 71 percent of personal property taxpayers would be exempted in this bill, which also lowers the corporate gross income tax. Hall testified in favor of the bill as a starting point for discussions and because the bill includes a blue ribbon commission to study personal property tax and additional ways to eliminate it over time.
HB 1001, authored by Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero), passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee on Thursday. HB 1001 provides for a local option by the county income tax council to allow the elimination of new personal property in their county. This bill basically provides a method for automatic abatement to all owners of business personal property and requires no application or approval process. Indiana Farm Bureau supported HB 1001 as a measured first step in providing relief from personal property tax where the tax base is such that shifts would not be significant or where local officials want to create a more attractive tax climate for business development. It is clear that House and Senate leaders will be conferring over a final package that will also meet the goals set out by Gov. Pence in his State of the State address.