Bipartisan measure protects agriculture from estate taxes
Washington, DC - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Senators Ken Salazar (D-Colorado) and Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) today introduced the Family Farm and Ranch Act of 2007 in an effort to protect farmers and ranchers from onerous federal estate taxes. The bipartisan bill outlines specific language protecting family farms and ranchers from the duplicate taxation dilemma presented by estate, or death, taxes.
"While my top priority continues to be the outright elimination of the death tax, this legislation is a good step that will protect many hard-working people in American agriculture, and I am pleased to be an original co-sponsor," Crapo said. "What is most important is we keep pushing to end the double-taxation standard that death taxes represent."
The Family Farm and Ranch Act of 2007 takes into account the fact that land values for farm land have skyrocketed in recent years and that many farm and ranch families face having to sell their assets to deal with taxes if there is a death in the family. The legislation recognizes the importance of family-run operations and seeks to keep them in business.
Under the bill's provisions, a farmer and rancher would pay no estate tax as long as the following conditions are met:
• In the past eight years before the decedent's death, the decedent or a member of his or her family owned the farm or ranch for a cumulative period of at least five years.
• In the past eight years before the decedent's death, the decedent or a member of his or her family must have been actively involved in the management and operation of the farm or ranch for a cumulative period of at least five years.
• The decedent of a member of his/her family must be using the land for farming/ranching purposes on the date of death and the decedent must be a U.S. citizen.
Other provisions state that half of the decedent or family's income must be derived through farming/ranching or that the qualified farm or ranch lands comprise 50% of the decedent's gross estate. "Small, family-owned businesses, farms and ranches are some of the hardest-hit by the death tax," Crapo added. "This is a crippling, unfair tax upon those small businesses, farms and ranches upon which our economy so solidly rests, and it should be abolished."