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Estate Tax Repeal?

April 6, 2011
 
 
 

A new effort to permanently repeal the estate tax was launched by a group of bipartisan lawmakers last week.  Congressmen Kevin Brady (R-Texas) and Mike Ross (D-Ark) were joined by Representatives Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), Dan Boren (D-Okla) and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) led the effort.

Farmers and ranchers tend to be the most affected by the estate tax. Because the law doesn’t differentiate between people and their business, this group is often impacted twice. Farming is a capital intensive business and often business assets are included in a person’s estate.  Families are frequently forced to sell the majority of assets to pay the International Revenue Service.

Noem believes that the tax hurts family farms and ranches at a terrible time and knows firsthand the aftermath the "death tax" can cause. 

"When my own dad died, our family was forced to make the choice to either sell land or take out a loan to pay the tax," she says.  "We took out the loan, but that lesson taught me a lot about the reach of government. Death simply should not be a taxable event."

Nunes agrees that estate tax hurts Americans at devastating times and believes it is one of the worst forms of double taxation in our country.

"Money that has already been taxed when a person is alive is taxed again at death," he says.

Ross says many of his constituents have concerns that when they die their business (farms included) will fail because they won’t be able to pay the taxes and keep the business operating.

"The death tax is unfair and punishes those Americans who work hard all their lives so they can pass their family business down to the next generation when they die," Ross says.

The estate tax often causes succession to fail and Brady realizes that.

"The death tax is still the No. 1 reason family farms and businesses in America aren’t passed down to the next generation. It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and it hurts the wrong people," he says.

Estate Tax Tragedy Can Be Avoided

This group hopes to end the death tax permanently in America, however in the meantime it is important that farmers and ranchers are prepared.  In episode 15 of "Leave a Legacy TV" attorney Tom O’Diam says that planning for the unknown is the most important.

"In my career, I have never seen estate tax ruin a family farm," O’Diam says. "What I have seen is lack of planning ruin the farm."

He also stresses that it is important to coordinate your succession plan and your estate plan which requires an attorney with expertise.

For more information about succession planning check out the Farm Journal Legacy Project

 

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RELATED TOPICS: Legacy Project

 
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COMMENTS (3 Comments)

Tim - ,
I'm in favor of the estate tax. I will inherit part of a farm when my Mom passes so don't put me in the category of having nothing to lose. I'm in my first years of farming and I'm frustrated by so much farmland being owned by elderly people that no longer farm and won't sell because they hope to avoid taxes by hanging onto the land until after death. In response to Jan, if property owners had to sell, where would the cattle and crops from, it would be new land owners, a younger generation like myself, with the skills and knowledge to raise crops and cattle but can't find the land to farm because its not for sale. 100% of the land I farm is rented, that's partially the result of the government making it more favorable to the older generation to hang onto the land than to let it go to the next generation of farmers.
10:02 PM Apr 14th
 
Tim - ,
I'm in favor of the estate tax. I will inherit part of a farm when my Mom passes so don't put me in the category of having nothing to lose. I'm in my first years of farming and I'm frustrated by so much farmland being owned by elderly people that no longer farm and won't sell because they hope to avoid taxes by hanging onto the land until after death. In response to Jan, if property owners had to sell, where would the cattle and crops from, it would be new land owners, a younger generation like myself, with the skills and knowledge to raise crops and cattle but can't find the land to farm because its not for sale. 100% of the land I farm is rented, that's partially the result of the government making it more favorable to the older generation to hang onto the land than to let it go to the next generation of farmers.
10:02 PM Apr 14th
 
JAN - BASTROP, TX
I am a victim of this tax. When my mother passed we had to pay 1.3 million in taxes. We are still paying on this. Now we are having to get an outrageous amount of Life Insurance just so our daughter will not have that same burden and we are not sure if its enough to cover the tax. We are being penalized for having property. Something has to be done. What will happen if all property owners had to sell. Where would the cattle and crops come from then?
5:27 PM Apr 6th
 



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