The House voted 240 to 179 recently for full repeal of the estate tax, commonly referred to as the death tax. Missouri Cattlemen’s Association President Janet Akers said the death tax is threatening the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across the country.
“Farmers and ranchers are asset rich and cash poor. These assets have been taxed over and over again throughout an individual’s lifetime. There is absolutely no reason to burden the next generation with another tax,” said Akers. “This tax needs to stop.”
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Philip Ellis said H.R. 1105 (Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015) is commonsense legislation necessary for rural America.
“When did it become appropriate to tax death?” said Ellis, a multi-generational rancher from Wyoming. “This is a punitive tax on farmers and ranchers that is inaccurately framed as a tax on the rich. The U.S. Department of Agriculture even names the death tax as one of the top contributors to the breakup of multi-generational farming and ranching operations.”
At the end of 2012, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, narrowly avoiding a return to a $1 million estate tax exemption with a 55 percent tax rate. This legislation provided a permanent exemption of the estate tax of $5 million per individual, 10 million per couple, and raised the top tax rate to 40 percent. While ATRA provided some relief for some farmers and ranchers, fixing the underlying problem is critical. With rising farm land values across America the estate tax will continue to plague farm and ranch families until it is repealed.
“The estate tax is a disservice to agriculture because we are a land-based, capital-intensive industry short of funds, and with few options for paying estate taxes when they come due,” said Ellis. “Unfortunately, all too often at the time of death, farming and ranching families are forced to sell off land, farm equipment, parts of the operation or take out loans to pay off tax liabilities and attorney’s fees.”
Ellis added, “We urge the Senate to act soon and vote for full repeal of the death tax to prevent an undeserved death sentence to many family-owned farms and ranches.” £