NCBA readies plan to pursue permanent estate tax relief

News
Feb 10, 2012
by WLJ

—Estate tax could jeopardize food security.

“The estate tax kills small business and jeopardizes the future of our family farms and ranches throughout the country,” said Kent Bacus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) associate director of legislative affairs. “2012 will be the year where permanent relief is within reach.”

Bacus addressed attendees of the 2012 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in Nashville, TN. He said the estate tax is top of mind for many cattlemen, especially young farmers and ranchers hoping to take over familyowned cattle operations. As a result of a last-minute fix passed through Congress in December 2010, the current estate tax exemption level is $5 million per individual and $10 million per couple with a maximum tax rate of 35 percent. However, Bacus said if Congress and President Obama fail to take action by the end of 2012, the tax rate will revert back to pre-2001 levels at a “mere” $1 million exemption level with a 55 percent tax rate.

“This is not a tax on the wealthy elite. The wealthy are more likely to find a way to weather the storm. Small business owners and family farmers and ranchers will be forced to make difficult decisions. In many cases, ranchers are forced to sell off all or part of their estate just to pay for this outdated tax. Often times, land doesn’t stay in food production but instead is sold into development,” Bacus said. “As the global population continues to grow, it is paramount we keep farms and ranches intact. We have to be able to feed people.” — WLJ

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