Time for another look at AgriStability?

Application dates remain the same, despite tax filing deadline extension

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Even though the federal government has extended the tax filing deadlines many farmers will benefit from getting their year-end financial work done before planting.

If you are expecting tax refunds, doing the work now will mean a quicker return to help with cash flow. The other reason to complete your year-end is to ensure you get any eligible benefits of the AgriStability program quicker.

The AgriStability program is the federal support program for farms based on a decline in margins. In other words, your allowable income minus your allowable expenses in a given year, with adjustments for changes in receivables, payables and inventory.

These adjustments are made based on information you submit on the AgriStability harmonized form. If you’re already in AgriStability and eligible for benefits you need to submit those forms with 2019 information by certain established dates set by each province.

In Ontario, you can only apply for an interim payment in the second half of your fiscal year but the rules differ in other parts of the country, says Coralee Foster, BDO accountant and partner in Mitchell, Ont. Foster recommends Ontario producers get their 2019 applications filed promptly so they get assessed well ahead of the flood will come when they’re due later on. “They won’t process a 2020 interim payment until 2019 is processed,” she says.

The deadline for new participants in Ontario is remaining as April 30, as of time of this writing. Government program dates have been changing quickly during the COVID-19 crisis. There may be producers who got out of AgriStability who should now consider getting back in, says Foster.

In Ontario, Agristability is delivered through Agricorp.

BDO workers, like all responsible Canadians, are practising social distancing, closing their physical offices and working virtually through email, phone and even a new client portal at www.bdo.ca. Most of the work is being done by exchanging documents digitally – scanning or taking a picture of documents – and emailing them to your accountant or uploading to the BDO Portal or legacy client portal. You can also mail documents via Canada Post or courier documents to your nearest BDO office. You should call your accountant’s office to determine the best way to share documents securely and safely.

Maggie Van Camp is the National Agricultural Practice Development Leader with BDO Guelph

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