The American Farm Bureau is asking Congress to quickly pass the Revitalizing Underdeveloped Rural Areas and Lands (RURAL) Act. The recently-introduced legislation will ensure that electric cooperatives won’t put their tax-exempt status in jeopardy when they accept government grants for things like expanding broadband or restoring power after storms and other disasters.
Most electric cooperatives are tax-exempt. In order to maintain that status, they must get at least 85 percent of their income from members. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act re-characterized those grants as income.
The unintended consequence is that the Act makes it much harder for cooperatives to meet the tax-exempt definition. “Farm Bureau works hand-in-hand with rural electric cooperatives on the shared goal of ensuring that rural America and the farmers and ranchers that live there have access to reliable power and high-speed internet,” says AFBF President Zippy Duvall. “We are asking lawmakers to act quickly on this important measure to allow rural electric cooperatives to continue their critical work without risking their tax-exempt status.”