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Drought-related tax deferrals widen in Alta.

More livestock producers in northern Alberta will be eligible this spring to defer income tax on sales of breeding stock forced by drought.

The federal government in December had designated three northern Alberta counties along with 23 rural municipalities (RMs) in southern Saskatchewan and the Peace River Regional District in British Columbia as eligible for the deferral for the 2008 tax year.

The county of Grande Prairie No. 1 and the municipal districts of Saddle Hills and Clear Hills were designated at the time.

But the Alberta government on Friday announced three more districts are now eligible, including Birch Hills County and the municipal districts of Fairview and Spirit River.

Owners of breeding livestock in the designated areas who were forced to sell all or at least 15 per cent of their herds in 2008 due to drought conditions are eligible for the deferral as a management option.

When filing his or her 2008 tax return, an eligible producer can request the deferral on income tax owing on 30 per cent of income from net sales, if his or her herd has been reduced by at least 15 per cent, but by less than 30 per cent.

Where the herd has been reduced by 30 per cent or more, 90 per cent of income from net sales can be deferred.

A producer whose area is designated in consecutive years — as was the case for most of the designated Saskatchewan RMs for at least 2007 and 2008 — can defer sales income ahead to the first year in which his or her area is no longer designated.

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