Poll: Tax Reform Needed for Farmers and America

News / FBNews August 9, 2017

A commanding majority of American voters support tax reform, a nationwide poll shows, while most voters also support tax changes that would benefit America’s farm and ranch families.

The survey conducted by Morning Consult found that seven out of 10 voters agreed passing tax reform legislation should be a priority for Congress. More than half of voters polled also expressed support for specific tax reform provisions that would benefit farmers and ranchers, such as:

  • Allowing farmers to deduct machinery purchases in the year those purchases are made;
  • Allowing farmers and ranchers to average their income;
  • Decreasing capital gains taxes; and
  • Repealing the estate tax.
  

“Americans are ready for tax reform, and many know the toll that taxes take on our farm and ranch families,” AFBF President Zippy Duvall said. “Congress must take action to provide tax relief, and farmers and ranchers will be sharing that message with their lawmakers until this job gets done.”

Tax rates are one key area ripe for reform, according to the Morning Consult poll. A majority of voters polled (63 percent) say federal income tax rates are too high. Seventy-two percent of voters support lower federal income tax rates for farmers, a matter supported strongly across party lines. There was even greater support for lower federal income tax rates for individuals (82 percent), small businesses (80 percent) and family owned businesses (77 percent).

By a 3-1 margin (52-18 percent) voters overwhelmingly recognize that the current U.S. tax system is unfair to farmers in many regards. Two in three voters went so far as to say that farmers and ranchers should be extended special tax treatment due to the combination of challenges and risks that are specific to agriculture. That sentiment was shared across party lines.

The poll also included the following findings concerning specific tax provisions:

  • A strong majority (73 percent) supports the ability of small businesses to write off business-related expenses.
  • Voters overwhelmingly support (81-7 percent) allowing small businesses to deduct equipment purchases in the year the purchase is made.
  • Voters support reducing the capital gains tax (54- 26 percent).
  • Three in five voters (61-18 percent) say farmland that is sold to a member of the next generation should be exempt from capital gains taxes.
  • Three in five voters (60-23 percent) say farmers or small businesses should not pay taxes on equipment sales if money goes toward replacement.
  • By a 17-point margin, voters say farmers should not pay taxes when they sell farmland and use the money to buy different farmland.
  • A strong majority (64 percent) supports repealing the estate tax.
  • Three in four voters (74 percent) support allowing farmers to deduct interest paid on business loans.
  • Three in five voters (58-19 percent) said farmers and ranchers should be allowed to average their incomes for tax purposes due to wide variations in annual income.

Morning Consult conducted the online survey of 1,996 registered voters from July 20 - July 24, 2017, on behalf of AFBF. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of +/- 2%.

More information about agriculture and tax reform is available at: www.fb.org/taxreform

Contact:
Will Rodger
Director, Policy Communications
(202) 406-3642
willr@fb.org
 
Mace Thornton
Executive Director, Communications
(202) 406-3641
macet@fb.org
 

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