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Reps. Smith, Bishop Introduce Estate Tax Repeal Bill

News / FBNews January 10, 2019

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Recently introduced Farm Bureau-supported legislation would give farmers, ranchers and many others permanent relief from estate taxes. While the current $11 million per-person exemption protects most farmers and ranchers from the devastating consequences of estate taxes, the exemption is scheduled to drop back down to $5.5 million per person in 2025.

“The uncertainty caused by the temporary nature of the exemption complicates succession and long-term business planning. And it means that some farmers and ranchers will have to continue to divert resources from their agricultural operation for estate tax planning just in case there is no extension of the exemption,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a Jan. 9 letter to Reps. Jason Smith (R-Mo.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), sponsors of the Death Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 218).

Farmers and ranchers have benefited greatly from the $11 million per-person exemption indexed for inflation, along with continued stepped-up basis and portability between spouses, Duvall noted.

“Instead of spending money on life insurance and estate planning, more farmers can expand their businesses, upgrade buildings and purchase needed equipment and livestock. More importantly, when a family member dies the family can continue farming without having to sell land, livestock or equipment to pay the tax,” he wrote.

The temporary doubling of the estate tax exemption to $11 million per person was enacted in 2017 in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

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