Tomorrow’s free webinar demonstrates IRS’ Tax Withholding Estimator

SALEM — The Internal Revenue Service will provide a free online session at 11 a.m. (Pacific time) Sept. 19 to explain the new Tax Withholding Estimator. The estimator is a mobile-friendly online tool that uses a simple six-step process to help taxpayers find out if the right amount is being withheld from income to cover their taxes. This is especially important because tax reform has changed the way many people calculate their taxes. The estimator works for all taxpayers, including workers, self-employed people and retirees.

The two-hour webinar includes a question and answer session and covers the basics of using the online IRS Withholding Estimator. The content is applicable to individuals as well as tax professionals. The latter can earn two continuing education (CE) credits by attending the webinar. Preregister by clicking on the link at www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/webinars-for-tax-practitioners. For more information, email cl.sl.web.conference.team@irs.gov.

Take an ag tour of SW Oregon Coast

SALEM — Oregon Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee invites farmers, ranchers and others to an agricultural tour of the Southwest Oregon Coast Oct. 11-13. The tour will be a fun, educational, three-day ag tour featuring a cranberry farm, sheep ranch, working forestland and more stops along the scenic coast. Current ag teachers can earn graduate credit from Oregon State University for continuing education if they attend the tour.

The cost is $40 per person for transportation and most meals. Lodging reservations and costs are the responsibility of attendees. Space is limited, and the registration deadline is Sept. 30. For more information, email yfr@oregonfb.org or call Jacon Taylor at 541-589-9694. Get the registration form at www.oregonfb.org/agtour.

Disaster assistance available for farmers

WASHINGTON, D.C. — USDA’s Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+) provides disaster payments to producers to offset losses from hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters. WHIP+ is specifically targeted to losses of crops, trees, bushes and vines and includes new programs for both milk losses due to adverse weather conditions and losses to on-farm stored commodities. 

WHIP+ is also available for agricultural producers who faced significant challenges planting crops in 2019. All producers with flooding or excess moisture-related prevented planting insurance claims in calendar year 2019 will receive a prevented planting supplemental disaster (“bonus”) payment equal to 10% of their prevented planting indemnity, plus an additional 5% will be provided to those who purchased harvest price option coverage. As under 2017 WHIP, WHIP+ will provide prevented planting assistance to uninsured producers, NAP producers and producers who may have been prevented from planting an insured crop in the 2018 crop year and those 2019 crops that had a final planting date prior to Jan. 1, 2019.

Enrollment for WHIP+ for losses that occurred in the 2018 and 2019 calendar years began Sept. 11. To learn about this and other disaster resources, go to www.farmers.gov/recover/whip-plus.

Attn local businesses: funds available from Main Street Revitalization grants

SALEM — The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced that the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant Program received $5 million in funding that was included in a lottery bond bill (HB 5030) during the 2019 legislative session. These funds will be available to Oregon Main Street Network organizations in the spring of 2021 to fund building improvement projects that spur economic development.

This grant program was created during the 2015 legislative session, and placed with the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office. The 2015 legislation established a permanent fund for the Oregon Main Street Revitalization Grant, and provided an initial infusion of funds from the sale of lottery bonds. Additional funds were approved in the 2017 legislative session.

To date, 57 matching grants totaling $7,599,994 were awarded in 2017 and 2019 to Oregon Main Street Network organizations across the state. Successful applications were able to demonstrate how the proposed project met clearly established goals for the downtown improvement efforts and would attract or retain businesses, generate new or retain jobs, or create downtown housing opportunities. Several communities were selected for work to repair or restore their historic theaters in both rounds, including The OK Theatre in Enterprise, which received $100,000.

The next round of the Main Street Revitalization Grant will be open in January 2021. A series of webinars is planned for late fall and early winter to help organizations meet the program’s requirements. For more information, visit www.oregonheritage.org or contact Kuri Gill at kuri.gill@oregon.gov or 503-986-0685. For information about the Oregon Main Street Network, visit www.oregonmainstreet.org or contact Sheri Stuart at sheri.stuart@oregon.gov or 503-986-0679.

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