Vermont Agriculture & Food System Plan 2021-2030 Vermont Food System Plan Issue Brief: Tax and Legal Services

Description

The tax and legal issues confronting existing and new farm businesses, new farm-based food enterprises, and farms in transition to the next generation are increasingly complex. Food safety, farm labor laws, business planning for farm transfer, estate planning—even the risks of hemp production— all present novel tax and legal issues that few general tax and legal practitioners in Vermont are prepared to handle. Successful new farm formation, farm diversification, and economic sustainability all depend on access to skilled legal and tax practitioners. There is a growing need for additional farm transfer assistance providers (see Succession brief). Sixty percent of Vermont farmers over the age of 55 do not have a legal structure in place to facilitate the gradual transfer of farming assets to the next generation.1 Building a network of skilled legal, tax, and bookkeeping professionals who specialize in serving farm clients could improve overall farm viability.

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