Coalition Supports Permanent Estate Tax Law

Action needed soon or laws will revert back to 2001 levels.

Published on: Apr 14, 2010
The American Farm Bureau Federation, The National Cattlemen's Beef Association, The Public Lands Council and a coalition of national organizations representing family farmers, ranchers and growers have joined in the fight for meaningful and permanent estate tax reform. In a letter to Senate leadership, the coalition said that if estate taxes are allowed to be reinstated at the beginning of 2011 with only a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55%, the negative impact on the agriculture industry will be significant.

The coalition supports permanently raising the exemption to no less than $5 million per person and reducing the top rate to no more than 35%. They are also calling for the exemption to be indexed to inflation, provide for spousal transfers and include the stepped-up basis. AFBF President Bob Stallman says that if something is not done soon, the bite of those taxes in 2011 will be even more severe.

Stallman points out that American agriculture is traditionally a family-owned enterprise, and estate taxes can take a severe toll on family members who wish to carry on the farm and ranch tradition. Portions of farm and ranch resources frequently have to be sold to pay for the resulting estate tax.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association and Public Lands Council also continue to support an agriculture exemption from the estate tax. They believe specific agricultural relief would benefit the American public through greater food security, maintenance of open space and environmental resources, as well as the preservation of valued traditions and lifestyle.