Citing the need for certainty for Missouri's farmers and ranchers, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today introduced legislation to prevent a scheduled increase in the federal estate tax by extending current estate tax levels through 2013.
"Our farmers and ranchers need more certainty right now, not less, which is why I'm leading this effort to prevent a hike in the estate tax and instead, lock in current levels," McCaskill said. "As Missouri contends with the worst drought in a half-century, and the House of Representatives sits on its hands refusing to pass the Farm Bill, I'm going to keep fighting in every way I know how to provide certainty to our farm and ranch families so they can plan for the future."
Under current law, property worth up to $5 million is exempt from the estate tax, and taxes on the transfer of property worth more than that amount cannot exceed 35 percent. However, those current rates are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, in which case rates would revert to 1990s levels.
McCaskill's bill-backed by Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas-would lock in the current low rate of 35 percent on the transfer of properties worth more than $5 million for at least one more year, through 2013, to provide certainty for Missouri's farm and ranch families. The legislation's language mirrors a provision in the Republican-backed tax cut proposal.
The new legislation comes after the Senate approved a separate bill to extend tax cuts for all Americans on the first $250,000 of their income-legislation McCaskill supported.