Application of the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) Tax to

I. Overview and Purpose This notice sets forth a proposed revenue ruling concerning the application of the Self-Employment Contributions Act (SECA) tax to payments made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), 16 U.S.C. 3831. CRP was authorized in 1985. It is one of several programs administered by the USDA that provide payments in exchange for diverting land from agricultural use to other uses. The Service has previously issued an announcement addressing the SECA tax treatment of payments made by the USDA under land diversion programs. Announcement 83-43, 1983-10 I.R.B. 29, provides guidance in a Question and Answer format related to land diversion programs sponsored by the USDA for purposes of special use valuation under section 2032A of the Code, estate tax deferral under section 6166 of the Code, and the SECA tax. In Q&A 3, the Service stated that a farmer who receives cash or a payment in kind from the USDA for participation in a land diversion program is liable for selfemployment tax on the cash or payment in kind received.Notice 2006-108

The Announcement was consistent with guidance provided In Rev. Rul. 60-32, 1960-1 C.B. 23, with respect to two earlier land diversion programs conducted under the Soil Bank Act. Both the announcement and the revenue ruling concluded that participants in the land diversion programs were subject to SECA taxes on their payments if the participants were otherwise operating a farm or materially participating in the production of commodities on a farm operated by others. However, Rev. Rul. 60-32 also states that participants in land diversion programs are not subject to SECA tax on the payments, if they do not operate a farm or materially participate in farming activities. The material participation factor is relevant for SECA under these circumstances only with respect to the exception from net income from self-employment provided in section 1402(a)(1) for rentals from real property. Some taxpayers may have read the reference to material participation as implying that the rental exception could potentially apply to payments under a land diversion program. More recently, the treatment of CRP payments for purposes of SECA, and more specifically, the potential application of the rental exception under section 1402(a)(1) was addressed by the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Wuebker v. Commissioner, 205 F.3d 897 (6th Cir. 2000). The Court held that CRP payments were net income from self-employment because they were received in exchange for performing tasks

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