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AAW concerned about estate tax legislation


American Agri-Women is concerned about the future of estate tax legislation because of its effect on the ability of family farms to be passed to the next generation. Last month by a vote of 225 to 200, the House of Representatives passed HR 4154, which makes permanent the 2009 estate tax rates and exemption threshold. The Senate will consider estate tax legislation this year.

The bill sets a 45 percent maximum tax rate on estates valued over $3.5 million for individuals and $7 million for married couples. The estate tax is currently set to be repealed for one year in 2010, returning in 2011 with a tax rate of 55 percent and an exemption lowered to $1 million.

AAW President Chris Wilson said, "This bill would permanently extend the excessively high tax rate of 45 percent with an un-indexed exemption amount of $3.5 million currently in effect for 2009. At the 45 percent rate, nearly half of the value of farms, ranches and small businesses would be taxed by the federal government."

The estate tax punishes individuals at their death and, in effect, is a double tax on assets that were already taxed when earned. It disproportionately affects the assets of family-owned small businesses and agriculture producers that are transferred at the time of death.

This bill does not set a reasonable rate, does not provide an appropriate exemption amount, and is not indexed for inflation. More and more agriculture producers are going to face this tax in the future. In lieu of total elimination, AAW supports an individual exemption of $5 million to $10 million, indexed for inflation.

For more information about AAW, contact Chris Wilson, president, president@americanagriwomen.org, or visit the web site at www.americanagriwomen.org. AAW is the nation's largest coalition of farm, ranch and agribusiness women, with 55 state, commodity, agribusiness affiliate organizations and collegiate chapters throughout the country. AAW is a volunteer organization, working to provide true information about agriculture to the public since 1974.



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