The American Soybean Association (ASA) has joined others from the commodity, dairy, livestock and specialty crop industries in urging Congress to enact legislation before the end of the year to provide permanent and meaningful estate tax relief. If Congress does not take action before the end of the year, the exemption will drop to $1 million and the top tax rate above the exclusion amount will increase to 55 percent.
ASA is asking Congress to permanently keep the current exemption at $5 million per person and retain the top rate of 35 percent. ASA believes it is also imperative that the permanent estate tax law index the exemption to inflation, provide for spousal transfers, and include the stepped-up basis.
In the House, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) has introduced the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act (H.R. 1259), while Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) has advanced the counterpart Senate bill of the same name (S. 2242).
“If estate taxes are allowed to be reinstated at the beginning of 2013 with only a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55 percent, the negative impact on our industry will be significant,” stated the groups. “The 2013 change to the estate tax law does a disservice to agriculture because we are a land-based, capital-intensive industry with few options for paying estate taxes when they come due. The current state of our economy, coupled with the uncertain nature of estate tax liabilities, makes it difficult for family-owned farms and ranches to make sound business decisions.”
In letters to both the House and Senate last week, ASA encouraged Congress to show its support for “permanent and meaningful estate tax relief” with the cosponsorship of bills reforming the estate tax.