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Farm Bureau efforts lead to state, federal estate tax victories
The new year brought victories on state and federal estate taxes that have been the focus of Ohio Farm Bureau members’ grassroots efforts for more than two decades. On Jan. 1, Ohio’s estate tax ended, and Farm Bureau-supported federal estate taxes exemptions became permanent.
Ohio’s estate tax eliminated
Ohio Farm Bureau members successfully advocated for elimination of the Ohio estate tax which was abolished through provisions of the biennial state budget passed two years ago by the Ohio General Assembly and signed by Gov. John Kasich.
“We have led a number of grassroots efforts to eliminate Ohio’s estate tax over the years, but the final push that got it done was a rally with more than 400 Farm Bureau members and legislators held during the 2011 Ag Day at Capitol,” said Doug Foxx, Ohio Farm Bureau director of political education.
In addition to the rally, an action alert generated letters, emails and phone calls to legislators calling attention to the burdensome estate tax and helping to push forward its elimination.
Federal estate tax policy made permanent
Provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act made estate tax rates and exemptions permanent. The act set the exemption at $5 million per person, indexed for inflation with any unused amount allowed to transfer to a spouse.
Farm Bureau members have been seeking long-term estate tax reform for more than two decades, with nine changes in the exemption and tax rates between 2002 and 2012. Farmers will benefit greatly from certainty in the rates and exemptions.
“Farm Bureau members will be able to focus more energy on other issues important to them now that federal estate tax policy has been made permanent law and indexed for inflation,” said Yvonne Lesicko, Ohio Farm Bureau senior director of legislative and regulatory policy. “Farmers also will be able to effectively prepare for the future and pass along their farms from one generation to the next.”