The Economic Impact Study’s results show that the horse industry directly produces goods and services of $38.8 billion and has a total impact of $101.5 billion on U.S. GDP.
Racing, showing and recreation each contribute between $10.5 and $12 billion to the total value of goods and services produced by the industry.
The study concludes that there are 9.2 million horses in the U.S., including horses used for racing, showing, competition, sport, breeding, recreation and work. This includes horses used both commercially and for pleasure. 1 out of every 63 Americans is involved with horses. The industry directly provides 460,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.
Dressage Warm-Up: World Cup 2005
Quite the impact, no?!
The American Horse Council is a great website by the way; it keeps you up to date on current equine legislation in particular fields. It's nice to know that President Obama signed the HIRE act-- which extends the benefit of "expense deduction for assets, including horses, purchased and placed in service through 2010."
Furthermore, "The Section 179 expense deduction allows an owner who purchases a horse or other business property and places it in service in 2010 to expense up to $250,000 of the cost. This applies to horses, farm equipment and any depreciable property used in a business." While there is some fine print, such as different tax tiers for expenses incurred, as a general principle, if you spend $750,000 in eligible property and horses as part of the business, then $250,000 can be written off on the 2009 tax return, and then you depreciate the balance.
The section also includes the numerous benefits of hiring an unemployed worker- payroll taxes are forgiven and there is a $1,000 tax credit given per hired employee- these benefits would be claimed on your 2011 tax return. Cool.
In conclusion, I urge you to know your tax rights, and to consult an equine specialist attorney or CPA to ensure you are receiving the benefits to which you are entitled as a horse and/or ranch owner.