Mann, Smith, Latta Introduce Legislation Protecting Family-Owned Farms, Ranches, Businesses

Washington, D.C. – Today, at the conclusion of National Agriculture Month, U.S. Representatives Tracey Mann (KS-01), Jason Smith (MO-08), and Bob Latta (OH-05) led more than 70 of their colleagues in introducing a bipartisan resolution recognizing the important role of the stepped-up basis in preserving family-owned farms, ranches, and small businesses. A long-standing provision in the tax code, the stepped-up basis prevents heirs from paying capital gains taxes on inherited assets such as land, equipment, or buildings.


“We continue to see damaging policies in the Biden Administration’s tax plan, including an effort threatening with the stepped-up basis,” said Rep. Mann. “Removing this provision would hurt generational Kansas farmers and ranchers and weaken their ability to keep assets in the family. The day-to-day trials of operating a successful farm, ranch, or small business are challenging enough without worrying about paying devastatingly large capital gains taxes. We must preserve the stepped-up basis and protect agriculturists now and in the future.”


“From his first day in office, President Biden has engaged in a nationwide assault on American agriculture,” said Rep. Smith “Repealing stepped-up basis, as President Biden has called for, would have a devastating impact on America’s working families, farms, and small businesses, costing 800,000 jobs and reducing our nation’s GDP by $100 billion in the first ten years alone. The President’s own Department of Agriculture has found this policy to harm all farms no matter their size – including 66 percent of mid-sized farms across the country. Earlier this week, President Biden continued his assault on American agriculture by renewing calls to eliminate the stepped-up basis in his FY23 budget. This legislation we are introducing today will send a clear message that Congress firmly stands with family-owned farms and small businesses.”


“Rural Americans are still reeling from the economic blows of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing they need to be worrying about is the elimination of the estate tax’s stepped-up basis provision,” said Rep. Latta. “The stepped-up basis provision is crucial to small family-owned farms in Northwest and West Central Ohio as it allows the generational transfer of their operations. I am proud to lead this effort in the House with Rep. Mann and Rep. Smith because it puts American farmers, ranchers, and small businesses first so that they can ensure their operations can thrive for decades to come.”


The resolution is supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Kansas Farm Bureau, American Farm Bureau Federation, Kansas Corn Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association, USA Rice, National Grange, and National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.


“Farmers and ranchers are land rich and cash poor,” said Kansas Farm Bureau President Rich Felts. “Stepped-up basis is an essential tool in estate planning, and it allows the next generation the certainty they won’t have to sell land to pay a burdensome tax bill. I’m grateful for Rep. Tracey Mann’s leadership to preserve stepped-up basis for farmers and ranchers in Kansas.”


“We are appreciative of Representatives Tracey Mann, Jason Smith, and Bob Latta, along with the numerous cosponsors, for recognizing the significance of a federal tax code that supports the viability of family-owned businesses,” said Danielle Beck, Executive Director of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Association. “The preservation of key federal tax provisions, such as stepped-basis, is often the determining factor in whether or not family-owned farms and ranches can be passed down. We must face the reality that our next generation will be tasked with a host of challenges as it is. Among other things, they’ll have to produce more food on less land and continue critical conservation practices with the constant threat from radical environmental groups. We must ensure that undue tax burden is not another challenge that threatens their ability to continue on the critical work of today’s producers.”


According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 98% of farms are family-owned. If the stepped-up basis is eliminated, 66% of all mid-sized farms would see an increased tax liability.


Click here to read the full text of the legislation.

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