2012 will be another year of battle in Washington D.C. for agriculture, and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is gearing up for some tough fights. NCBA Vice President of Communications Colin Woodall says that number one is obviously the estate tax.
"It's an issue we've been talking about for many, many years," Woodall said. "A little over a year ago we were able to get a two-year fix that has helped a lot of producers but that fix expires the end of this year."
For now, estates worth more than $5 million per individual or $10 million per couple are taxed at a 35% rate, but if some action is not taken the exemption will drop to $1 million and the tax rate will jump to 55%. NCBA supports the Death Tax Permanency Repeal Act, introduced by Congressman Kevin Brady,R-Texas. NCBA Manager of Legislative Affairs Kent Bacus says if a full repeal is not possible, the next best option is to make the 2010 package permanent. According to Bacus, the estate tax, commonly referred to as the death tax, is one of the leading causes of the breakup of multi-generation family farms and ranches.
Woodall agrees saying that if the tax reverts back it will put a lot of families in a bind if they lose a loved one.
With 2012 being an election year any legislation is a challenge and Woodall says it will be more difficult to get some kind of action on the death tax, but he is hopeful.
"When you look at what we did last year with the two-year fix, we did that under a Democrat Senate, a Democrat House and the Obama Administration," Woodall said. "Now we have the opportunity to get a little bit more help from the House of Representatives because Republicans are a little bit more tax friendly, tax relief friendly when it comes to this issue."