Tax Deal Eases Farmers Worries

With the fiscal cliff negotiations preventing an estate tax increase, farmers across the country are breathing a collective sigh of relief.

Included in the potential fallout of going over the fiscal cliff was a major tax increase. While some farmers were worried about potential income tax increases, their major concern was an increase in the estate tax. Return to Clinton-era estate tax levels could threaten many small, family farms, many farmers argued.

The potential estate tax increase would have raised taxes on estates more than $1 million to 55 percent. Given the recent boom in farmland value, combined with the value of major farm equipment, many farms can easily top $1 million.

According to one Texas farmer, the tax increase would result in a major blow to family farmers. “It concerned us, and we were anticipating the worst-case scenario. You don’t really inherit the farm, you inherit a bunch of taxes. The heirs lose the farm to pay the taxes. And that’s one more family farm that goes out of business.”

The tax deal reached by Congress stabilizes estate taxes at Bush-era levels, preventing a potential hike that could damage farms across the country.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer