Column: Tuberculosis testers can get a new tax credit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 26, 2006

By Bill Hartmann, LivesTalk

As the year winds down and you start to think about closing out the year&8217;s books, preparing tax documents, and gathering receipts &8212; we&8217;ve got some good news. Minnesota cattle owners who paid for bovine tuberculosis testing during 2006 can offset the costs of those tests with a new tax credit offered this year.

The bovine TB testing credit is a tax refund available to individuals, trusts, partnerships and corporations. Legislation passed earlier this year allows cattle owners to claim a credit against their taxes for an amount equal to one half of the expenses incurred to conduct TB testing. The eligible testing includes producer funded Caudal-Fold Tuberculin tests performed by an accredited veterinarian certified to conduct bovine TB testing in Minnesota.

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The credit is available to cattle owners testing just one animal or an entire herd, and there are no limits on how much can be claimed. The testing and resulting expenses must be incurred before Dec. 31 to be claimed on 2006 tax returns.

Since bovine TB was detected in northwestern Minnesota, more than 132,000 bovine TB tests have been completed in Minnesota. We know that testing is not cheap; however, it is necessary if we are to preserve Minnesota&8217;s strong cattle industry and return the state to TB-free status.

This testing credit allows cattle producers some financial relief.

If you&8217;ve had to test cattle before an out-of-state shipment, exhibition, or sale, this credit will allow you to recoup half the costs. Until we can regain our TB-free status, this credit should help producers maintain interstate business.

The credit applies to the following expenses incurred to conduct qualified tests:

– Veterinarian fees, including call charges and injection costs, directly paid by the herd owner.

– Labor expenses that the cattle owner would not have otherwise incurred, for services which are necessary to present a cattle herd for testing.

– Expenses related to the rental of equipment by the bovine owner, which is necessary for injecting and reading bovine TB tests and which would not have been incurred if the test had not been administered.

Expense paid by any government agency or expenses paid by the cattle owner but reimbursed by a government agency do not qualify for the credit.

For more information about the tax credit, visit For information on bovine TB testing and Minnesota&8217;s quest to regain TB-free status, visit We thank you for your cooperation in helping Minnesota regain its TB-Free status.

Bill Hartmann is the state veterinarian with the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.