Bill would ax estate tax for agriculture
Business-involvement stipulation for heir raises some concerns
By TIM HEARDEN
Farmers and ranchers are supporting a bill in Congress that would exempt certain land from the federal estate tax as long as the property is kept in agriculture.
The bill by U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., and John Salazar, D-Colo., would deduct from the estate tax the value of farmland in cases where the heir had been involved in the farm operation for five of the past eight years.
The idea pleases ranchers such as California cattle producer Kevin Kester, whose family had to pay $2 million over 10 years to the Internal Revenue Service after his grandfather died in 1993.
"We struggled, and the net result over 10 years was we were not able to invest and reinvest in the ranch or have the employees that we should have," said Kester, who runs cows and grows winegrapes on 22,000 acres near Paso Robles.
Currently, under a tax-relief bill signed by then-President George W. Bush, estates valued at more than $3.5 million, or $7 million for a couple, are taxed at a 45 percent rate. If Congress doesn't act, the rate is set to revert in 2011 to 55 percent on estates worth $1 million or more.
There is nothing good that comes out of the death tax. It destroys family owned businesses and the jobs they provided. It hits farming and ranching families especially hard. Agriculture is a very capital intensive business which can be valued quite high because of the land involved, yet comes no where close to generating the income required to pay the taxes. In those instances, families are forced to sell part of their farm just to pay the taxes. This type of tax costs our society more than it generates. Do your part and contact your Congressional delegation. Follow the links below to send a message.
If you live in California, use this link:http://bit.ly/1Xj8p
If you live outside of California use this link:http://www.capwiz.com/cfbf/issues/alert/?alertid=14009876&type=cu