by Mary Soukup, Drovers CattleNetwork Editor
Call it what you want to call it – but any time the estate tax, also known as the death tax, comes up in conversation, ears perk up and most in agriculture start paying attention. Well, in the past few days, the topic has started simmering again.
No, we’re not faced with a situation like we were in in 2011 when we faced a very real potential of estate tax levels reverting back to pre-2001 levels when estates worth $1 million were taxed at a 55 percent rate. At the eleventh hour in 2012, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act that permanently set the estate tax exemption level at $5 million per individual (or $10 million per couple) and established the top tax rate at 40 percent. This legislation maintained popular provisions like the spousal transfer, the step-up in basis and indexed the estate tax for inflation. By and large, while full repeal was the top priority among agricultural organizations, most in the industry seemed appeased by the permanency under the ATRA.
So, for the past couple of years, except for discussions about how the estate tax fits into overall tax reform efforts, the topic hasn’t received a great deal of attention.
Two things this week, however, brought it back to the surface.
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Source: Drovers CattleNetwork
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