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How Will the Phaseout of Federal Estate Taxes Affect Farmers?

by Ron Durst, James Monke, and Douglas Maxwell

Agriculture Information Bulletin No. (AIB-751-02) 8 pp, March 2002

Concern among policymakers that the Federal estate tax might force the liquidation of some family farms has resulted in the enactment of a variety of special provisions over the years. Providing relief to farmers and other small business owners was the primary impetus for the 1997 changes to Federal estate and gift tax policies and a major objective of the 2001 law that will phase out and eventually repeal the Federal estate tax. While only about 4 percent of all farm estates owe Federal estate taxes, a much larger percentage of farm estates must file an estate tax return, make use of special farm provisions, alter their business practices, or engage in costly estate planning in order to reduce the impact of the estate tax on their farm business. Thus, the phase-out and repeal of the Federal estate tax will affect a much broader group of farmers than just those who owe tax.

Keywords: Federal tax policy, estate and gift tax, special use valuation unified credit, tax rates

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Last updated: Saturday, May 26, 2012

For more information contact: Ron Durst, James Monke, and Douglas Maxwell