Jun 19

Land Values in Southwest Oklahoma

Last week I went to an interesting presentation by Raylon Shumaker of AgPreference in Altus, Oklahoma on land values in southwestern Oklahoma. In the presentation he stated that there was only a slight increase in land values for 2011 over 2010 and he expected them to hold steady for 2012.

I will try to recite a few of the figures here, but I may have forgotten a few of them in the past week.

The highest average land price in the region was in Jackson County. In Jackson County in 2011 the average price was $995 per acre. This is based off both private treaty and auction prices and covers both crop and pasture lands. It does not cover irrigated crop land. This price is up $5 from 2010.

Harmon County had the lowest average prices for the region at about $680 per acre. The lower price is due to less demand there and typically less rainfall which results in less production.

Beckham, Tillman, Kiowa, and Greer County all had average land prices between the above figures.

According to one of his slides, if the land is sold at auction as opposed to private negotiation, there is about a $90 difference in the value it will bring. It was not clarified if this premium was the result of bidding wars or if it was just higher quality ground that typically goes to auction.

Although he didn’t address it in the presentation, I followed up with a question on mineral values. The resident expert, Randy Baden, let me know that most of the sales did not deal with minerals, so they likely did not affect the price much. He estimated that if there was actual production the minerals didn’t get sold and that most of the sales generally have retention of 1/2 of the minerals and sell the other 1/2 to the buyer.

On valuation of minerals, the Oklahoma Tax Commission had a few rules of thumb, as follows:

1. If there was no production and no leasing, then it was based on county by county. For far southwestern Oklahoma, these non-leasing values never exceded $50 per acre, but that was before the recent production boom.

2. If there was a lease, but no production, the value was set as three times the leasing bonus.

3.  If there was production of oil, the value was set as 60 times the average monthly production for the previous six months. If there was natural gas production, then the value was set as 84 times the average monthly production for the previous six months.

As the oil and natural gas industry develops here in the Altus area, you need to keep in mind that the values of you minerals will affect the value of your estate. As discussed in my previous post, the value of your estate may start being subject to estate taxes once it passes $1,000,000, which only takes a few hundred acres of good minerals.

Jun 17

Tax changes coming in 2013

I did a post earlier on tax changes that would affect small businesses this next year and in the future. My last post was mainly on income taxes and the severe reduction of bonus depreciation and the Section 179 deduction. I will focus this post on tax changes affecting estate planning.

The estate tax is based on wealth, or net value, as opposed to income, so it works the following way. In general when a person passes away, one of the duties the successors in interest must do for the Estate is to inventory property. The inventory is then valued as of the date of death. If the net value of the Estate exceeded a certain amount, (the federal estate tax exemption amount) it was subject to taxes. As part of the Bush Tax cuts, the federal estate tax exemption amount went from $640,000 to up to $3,500,000 before it was phased out completely in 2010. In 2011 the federal estate tax exemption was set to return to $1,000,000, but Congress and the President reached an agreement that set the exemption at $5,000,000 with a top rate of 35% for 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, the federal estate tax exemption is set to return to $1,000,000 per individual. The top tax rate will be 55% for the largest estates. This means that estates of people dying on January 1, 2013 may have to pay up to 20% more in taxes than if the person had died on December 31, 2012 instead. The good news is that the estate tax is the easiest tax to plan for, so you should take steps now if your family’s weath is more than $1,000,000.

In Oklahoma, the state estate tax was repealed effective January 1, 2010. It is set to stay repealed because any tax increase basically has to pass by constitutional refernedum now, and it doesn’t seem likely that will happen. However, there is a chance that the federal estate tax could change so drastically that Oklahoma may re-impose its state death tax based on the federal credit system. We will have to watch to see what develops with this.

If you have questions on planning your estate or if you are worried how death taxes will affect you, then please call to set up a complimentary appointment. In tax planning, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Jun 14

Thunder up

Just a reminder that the OKC Thunder is playing in Game 2 of the NBA Finals tonight. Everyone should take some time to watch and see the talent that Oklahoma has put together and has showcased on the world stage tonight.

While you are showing your Thunder pride, remember the Oklahoma standard and what we stand for. In addition to great basketball we also have great people; and that is the legacy of our state.

And one last estate planning plug for the citizens of Oklahoma, what legacy will you leave?

Jun 12

Reminder that estimated payments are due this Friday

For the self-employed and income taxpayers that will have estimated payments because their  estimated tax exceeds their amounts withheld, this Friday, June 15th, 2012 is the postmark date for estimated payments for the second quarter.

On time payments help ensure minimization of penalties and interest due, so make sure you get it in the mail before the weekend. And if you are a little upset with the amount you are having to pay and you live in southwestern Oklahoma in the Altus area, then give me a call to set up a review to see where you can do more planning for your taxes and estate.