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Beginning farmers and ranchers frequently start their agricultural businesses by beginning small and keeping their day jobs. These new business activities must meet certain threshold tests to be considered active rather than passive activities. The passive activity loss rules apply to businesses including farms, limited partnerships, Limited Liability Companies (LLC’s), S Corporations, and C Corporations.

A passive activity is any activity that involves the conduct of a business in which the producer does not materially participate or a rental activity (whether or not the producer materially participates or not). Should a loss occur in such a business, the passive activity loss rules limit a producer’s ability to deduct losses when the producer does not materially participate or a business which is a rental activity unless the producer is a real estate professional. Losses generated from passive activities, as a general rule, can only offset income from passive activities.

Material participation most often applies to business activities, including farming or ranching. Material participation requires a producer to be involved in the operation of a trade or business activity on a regular, continuous, and substantial basis, thereby avoiding the passive activity loss rules. The level of involvement applies to the owner of the business or an owner of an interest in a partnership or an S Corporation.


Rural Tax Education

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Education | Higher Education | University Extension

Materially Participate in the Business to Avoid the Passive Activity Loss Rules