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Scheduled changes in Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax rates will affect member net cash flow when a patronage refund is received from a cooperative. Cash patronage refunds at the minimum 20 percent level generally required by law will create negative cash flows for patrons in very low tax brackets. Negative cash flows accumulated over the 10-year period 1980-90 may result in opportunity costs to patrons that exceed the value of the refunds. Boards will need to consider one or more of the following strategies to deal with this problem: (1) increased cash patronage refunds, (2) shorter revolving periods, and (3) use of nonqualified written notices of allocation.


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