Federal lawmakers have introduced legislation that would repeal the federal estate tax, often referred to as the death tax. U.S. Senator John Thune and U.S. Representatives Sanford Bishop and Jason Smith recently introduced the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2021. The bipartisan legislation has the support of nearly 150 lawmakers in both houses of Congress. Multiple agricultural groups have also weighed in with their support for the bills.
“Farmers and ranchers already face unpredictable challenges beyond our control yet persevere to protect our nation’s supply of food, fiber and renewable fuel. The tax code should encourage farm business growth, not add to uncertainty,” American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) President Zippy Duvall said in a press release. “Eliminating the estate tax removes another barrier to entry for sons and daughters or other beginning farmers to carry-on our agricultural legacy and make farming more accessible to all.”
The legislation is also being supported by the National Association of Manufacturers, National Taxpayers Union, Family Business Coalition, and many others. AFBF has been working to alleviate the burdens of the death tax for quite some time. According to AFBF analysis, estate taxes threaten more than 74,000 farms around the nation. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the federal estate tax exemption to $10 million per person through 2025, providing some relief. However, without congressional intervention, that number will go back to $5.5 million in 2026. A significant amount of farmland is projected to transition over the next 20 years. Because of that, ag groups are concerned about how estate taxes are going to impact the future of the farm economy.
“As small business owners, environmental stewards, and the economic backbone of rural communities across the country, U.S. cattle producers understand and appreciate the role of taxes in maintaining and improving our nation,” said National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jerry Bohn. “However, they also believe that the most effective tax code is an equitable one. For this reason, NCBA ardently supports the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2021.”