26 CFR § 1.175-2 - Definition of soil and water conservation expenditures.
(a) Expenditures treated as a deduction.
(1) The method described in section 175 applies to expenditures paid or incurred for the purpose of soil or water conservation in respect of land used in farming, or for the prevention of erosion of land used in farming, but only if such expenditures are made in the furtherance of the business of farming. More specifically, a farmer may deduct expenditures made for these purposes which are for (i) the treatment or moving of earth, (ii) the construction, control, and protection of diversion channels, drainage ditches, irrigation ditches, earthen dams, watercourses, outlets, and ponds, (iii) the eradication of brush, and (iv) the planting of windbreaks. Expenditures for the treatment or moving of earth include but are not limited to expenditures for leveling, conditioning, grading, terracing, contour furrowing, and restoration of soil fertility. For rules relating to the allocation of expenditures that benefit both land used in farming and other land of the taxpayer, see § 1.175-7.
(2) The following are examples of soil and water conservation: (i) Constructing terraces, or the like, to detain or control the flow of water, to check soil erosion on sloping land, to intercept runoff, and to divert excess water to protected outlets; (ii) constructing water detention or sediment retention dams to prevent or fill gullies, to retard or reduce run-off of water, or to collect stock water; and (iii) constructing earthen floodways, levies, or dikes, to prevent flood damage to farmland.
(b) Expenditures not subject to section 175 treatment.
(1) The method described in section 175 applies only to expenditures for nondepreciable items. Accordingly, a taxpayer may not deduct expenditures for the purchase, construction, installation, or improvement of structures, appliances, or facilities subject to the allowance for depreciation. Thus, the method does not apply to depreciable nonearthen items such as those made of masonry or concrete (see section 167). For example, expenditures in respect of depreciable property include those for materials, supplies, wages, fuel, hauling, and dirt moving for making structures such as tanks, reservoirs, pipes, conduits, canals, dams, wells, or pumps composed of masonry, concrete, tile, metal, or wood. However, the method applies to expenditures for earthen items which are not subject to a depreciation allowance. For example, expenditures for earthen terraces and dams which are nondepreciable are deductible under section 175. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 1959, in the case of expenditures paid or incurred by farmers for fertilizer, lime, etc., for purposes other than soil or water conservation, see section 180 and the regulations thereunder.
(2) The method does not apply to expenses deductible apart from section 175. Adoption of the method is not necessary in order to deduct such expenses in full without limitation. Thus, the method does not apply to interest (deductible under section 163), nor to taxes (deductible under section 164). It does not apply to expenses for the repair of completed soil or water conservation structures, such as costs of annual removal of sediment from a drainage ditch. It does not apply to expenditures paid or incurred primarily to produce an agricultural crop even though they incidentally conserve soil. Thus, the cost of fertilizing (the effectiveness of which does not last beyond one year) used to produce hay is deductible without adoption of the method prescribed in section 175. For taxable years beginning after December 31, 1959, in the case of expenditures paid or incurred by farmers for fertilizer, lime, etc., for purposes other than soil or water conservation, see section 180 and the regulations thereunder. However, the method would apply to expenses incurred to produce vegetation primarily to conserve soil or water or to prevent erosion. Thus, for example, the method would apply to such expenditures as the cost of dirt moving, lime, fertilizer, seed and planting stock used in gulley stabilization, or in stabilizing severely eroded areas, in order to obtain a soil binding stand of vegetation on raw or infertile land.
(c) Assessments. The method applies also to that part of assessments levied by a soil or water conservation or drainage district to reimburse it for its expenditures which, if actually paid or incurred during the taxable year by the taxpayer directly, would be deductible under section 175. Depending upon the farmer's method of accounting, the time when the farmer pays or incurs the assessment, and not the time when the expenditures are paid or incurred by the district, controls the time the deduction must be taken. The provisions of this paragraph may be illustrated by the following example: