From FCC Express, by Owen Roberts
Ontario farmers’ long-standing support of food banks is being recognized by the provincial government with a new tax credit program, the first of its kind in Canada.
Farmers throughout the province give regularly to community food programs and food banks regionally and provincially, oftentimes with seasonal commodity donations or set-aside programs.
Now, Ontario is recognizing farmers’ with a new food donation tax credit.
The program gives farmers a tax credit valued at 25 per cent of the fair market value of the agricultural products they donate. This credit is available for donations dating back to Jan. 1, 2014.
Provincial officials call it part of Ontario’s local food strategy.
“This new tax credit will help farmers donate more fresh food to their local food banks, which will support our farmers, drive local economic growth, and benefit families in communities across the province,” says Charles Sousa, Ontario minister of finance.
No processed products are eligible. But basically, everything else is — anything that is grown, raised or harvested on an Ontario farm, and that may be sold, distributed or offered for sale at a place other than the premises of its producer as food are eligible.
Eligible food recipients must be registered as a charity under the federal Income Tax Act and be engaged in distributing food for no charge to alleviate poverty or provide nutrition to students.
Students are among those who are frequent users of food banks in Ontario. One-third of the 375,000 Ontarians served by a food bank every month are children. And more than 600,000 children and youth participate in breakfast, snack and lunch programs in Ontario communities.
“Ontario’s farmers have a long tradition of donating their agricultural products to charitable causes, and we believe this credit will both honour that tradition and help motivate others to donate,” says Neil Currie, general manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.