The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) and 22 national and state agribusiness groups, sent a letter to the Senate Finance Committee calling for permanent repeal of the estate tax, which is critical for agribusinesses around the U.S. The agribusiness coalition included representatives from ag lending, seed, chemical, fertilizer, equipment, applicators, and retail/distribution sectors of the agricultural economy.
In the letter to Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA), the organizations stressed the importance of permanently repealing the estate tax, or "at a minimum…support permanently raising the exemption to $5 million per spouse and reducing the top rate to 35 percent.” The letter added, “It is also imperative that the exemption be indexed to inflation, provide for spousal transfers and include the stepped-up basis. "
If Congress fails to act before January 1, 2011, the law will be reinstated at a $1 million exemption and top rate of 55 percent. With the definition of “estates” encompassing both liquid and illiquid assets, the “land rich” agriculture industry is severely disadvantaged, with families being forced to sell assets in order to pay the estate tax.
Permanent estate tax relief is crucial to ensure America’s agribusinesses around the nation are able to make sound businesses decisions on financial planning for the future, while making certain the family business can be passed on to future generations. To view the letter, click here.
If you have any questions on the letter or the estate tax issue contact Jon Samson of ARA at 202-457-0825 or Jon@aradc.org.