A law passed by the U.S. Congress in 2001 stipulated that the estate tax would end in 2010 and be re-instated in 2011 at the lower exemption levels and higher rates that were in place in 2001. In 2001, the exemption was $1,350,000 for a married couple, and half that for a single person. The maximum tax rate was 55 percent. Between 2002 and 2009, the exemption for a couple was gradually raised to $7 million and the maximum rate was lowered to 45 percent. In 2010, the estate tax exemption was set at $5 million per person and the top tax rate was set at 35 percent for 2011 and 2012. That legislation also put in place a new provision that allowed the unused portion of a spouse’s exemption to be used by a surviving spouse. In 2013, Congress raised the estate tax exemption to $5.25 million from $5 million and increased the top marginal rate to 40 percent from 35 percent.
STPRA joins the Farm Bureau and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in supporting a full repeal of the estate tax. We join those groups in asking that until that time, agricultural property be exempted from the estate tax and the $5.25 million exemption continue to be indexed for inflation.
We will support policies that enable property owners to retain and bequeath their properties without the necessity of forced sales or fragmentation.