Structured sales and farm land, the boom in farm land prices creates tax planning opportunities for farmers

In this weeks edition of Speaking of Settlements, I look at the renewed interest by my farmers in using structured sales to spread out the tax hit and guarantee cash flow on the sale of their farm land. I also look at the recent surge of farmers who are leasing land to oil companies due to the discovery of shale under their property and the ability to collect oil and gas leasing bonus payments that can be structured as well.

Structured sale of farm land is a key tool in tax and financial planning for farmers

Structured sale of farm land is a key tool in tax and financial planning for farmers

The use of the structured sale has been on the back burner for several years now, largely as a result of the collapse of the real estate market and financing options for both buyers and sellers. It was a product originally conceived and used successfully for several years when people who own highly appreciated, low cost basis real estate, want to cash out and sell, but don’t want to write huge tax checks to the state and federal government on the capital gain. While we can all agree it makes a lot more sense to use 100% of your net sale proceeds and spread the money out over years, many people are still wondering what a structured sale is, and why it makes sense for those selling farm property.

 In almost every case that has been referred to my office over the last year in which farm land is being sold or is under consideration for sale, it is a family owned farm that has almost no cost basis and close to 100% of the sale is going to be subject to capital gains tax. While the tax is a big issue, what is a larger problem is that with the sale of the farm, most farmers or their families are also losing their source of annual income, something they need to sustain through the investment income on the sale proceeds.

The structured sale allows them to design guaranteed payments, on a schedule that makes sense for their situation, paid monthly, annually and for years if not decades into the future. Combined with spreading out the tax hit, putting 100% of the net proceeds to work and creating a guaranteed cash flow and payment stream that provides income to the family, you can see why this is becoming increasingly popular during these uncertain market conditions.

If you want to learn more about structured sales and it’s use when selling farm property, contact my office through our web site at and we will be happy to assist you.