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Farm Bureau fights against tax increases
Congress is headed into a lame duck session next week and the Nebraska Farm Bureau wants to make sure they get something done... one very particular thing.
Several tax provisions are going to expire at the end of the year. The estate tax, or death tax is one of those.
The current tax rate is 35 percent on land assets worth $5.1 million. But, come January it will be 55 percent on land worth over only one million dollars if Congress doesn't act.
"That would just be devastating to a lot of families in Nebraska," said Doug Saathoff.
Doug Saathoff was born to farm.
"Dad grew up on a farm. He took it over from his dad. Me and my brother are farming also, so we're taking over for our dad," Saathoff said.
Some of their land has been in the family since the 1940's.
"I've been very blessed and thankful for you know, having the opportunity to come into farming. You know, my grandpa, dad they planned ahead for this day where me and my brother could do it," said Saathoff.
His dad still owns much of the land the family farms on.
"We don't know what's going to happen next year. I hope dad's gonna live for a long time, but we don't know," Saathoff said.
He thinks the estate tax should be eliminated:
"I just think it's sick and wrong to have this tax."
The Nebraska Farm Bureau agrees. They're pressing Congress to make sure that tax rate doesn't increase to 55% on estates valued over one million dollars.
Estates valued under 5 point one million are currently exempt.
But, that's set to change to only one million dollars.
"With ag land values in the recent years have gone up substantially, it really doesn't take a large acreage to surpass the million dollar mark," said Nebraska Farm Bureau Vice President Mark Mchargue.
This could force some people to sell off portions of land, just to pay off the tax.
"It takes property to do our business and so a couple percent here and there really can affect our bottom line," Mchargue said.
"You know, we've worked hard all our lives, we've paid our taxes, then we die, we have to pay taxes again," said Saathoff.
The Farm Bureau is also pressuring Congress to pass a Farm Bill.
But, Mchargue says he's not optimistic that will happen this session.
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