Estate tax reform in lame duck session for farm families
Special to the Courier
Farm and ranch families in Bandera County are calling for help from Washington legislators to help preserve their family farms and ranches by establishing estate tax reform during the lame duck session.
"Estate taxes can be devastating to a family business, including farms and ranches that have been handed down for generations," said Barbara Mazurek, president of Bandera County Farm Bureau.
The estate tax requires families to pay tax on land and assets owned by a family member when that family member passes away. Currently, the estate tax exemption is set at $5 million in assets, and assets above the exemption are taxed at the 35 percent top rate.
"If Congress doesn't act on estate taxes before the end of the year, the estate tax exemption will drop to $1 million and the top rate will increase to 55 percent," Barbara said. "Farmers and ranchers are asset rich and cash poor, and those changes could really devastate our family farms and ranches as they're already experiencing the loss of a loved one."
Farm Bureau supports a lower estate tax top rate and higher exemption, as well as a permanent extension of the 15 percent capital gains tax. The capital gains tax is set to increase from 15 to 20 percent, if Congress doesn't take action before the end of the year.