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Proposed Legislation Will Protect Farm Families After the Death of a Family Member

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The Preserving Family Farms Act of 2019 is sponsored by Reps. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) and Jackie Warlorski (R-Ind.), reports The American Farm Bureau in the recent article, “New Bill Will Help Preserve Family Farms.”

Farm and ranch families frequently see a major significant financial burden, when they have to pay estate taxes. That’s according to American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

“Farm families should be able to pay based on how their land is actually used, rather than its potential value as commercial property, such as a shopping center. AFBF commends Representatives Panetta and Walorski for introducing the Preserving Family Farms Act of 2019, which will give more families hope they can hold on to the farm when a loved one passes. We strongly urge House members to co-sponsor this important bill.”

The bill will update the special use valuation provision of the estate tax. This valuation allows property to be appraised as farmland, rather than its development value when determining estate taxes.

Upping the amount of farmland or ranchland that can be valued at agriculture value instead of development value will help protect family-owned farm and ranch businesses, by assessing estate taxes on the actual value of the businesses they have spent decades building.

“Allowing more farmland to qualify for special use valuation would elevate this provision of the tax code to its proper place as a helpful estate planning tool,” Duvall said.

National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston commented that ranchers and farmers are very appreciative of the death tax relief that was passed as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. However, many cattle producers are either still vulnerable to the death tax or will be vulnerable when the TCJA exemption limits end in 2026.

“America’s beef producers should never be forced to sell any of their family’s farm, ranch or business due to a death of a family member,” Houston said. “NCBA is committed to the fight to defend family ranches and farms and has long advocated for sound policies that will preserve family-owned beef operations for generations to come. I applaud Representatives Panetta and Walorski for their leadership and dedication to protecting future generations of agricultural producers who seek to preserve a multigenerational legacy by maintaining a family-owned business.”

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Reference: American Farm Bureau (November 22, 2019) “New Bill Will Help Preserve Family Farms”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Inheritance, Asset Protection, Tax Planning, Financial Planning