Press Releases

Boozman: 55 Percent Death Tax Rate "Unacceptable"

Highlights Magnolia Agribusiness in Senate Floor Speech

Dec 13 2012

WASHINGTON – Job creation and economic recovery are at the top of Washington’s “to-do list” and U.S. Senator John Boozman today highlighted a major hurdle to that success for America’s agriculture producers and small business owners – the death tax.

The death tax forces an unnecessary burden on America’s family farms and businesses following the death of a loved one. Congress resurrected the death tax in 2011 at a 35 percent rate through the end of 2012. Unless Congress acts before the end of the year, the tax will skyrocket to a 55 percent rate and $1 million exemption at the beginning of 2013.

On the Senate floor, Boozman urged action during fiscal cliff discussions to prevent an increase to the death tax.

“If the President and the Senate Majority refuse to compromise on the tax portion of the fiscal cliff agreement, the death tax will rise dramatically. Arkansas farmers will be forced to hand over to Uncle Sam up to 55 percent of the value of family farm estates that are worth more than $1 million beginning in 2013,” Boozman said on the Senate floor.

More than 22 percent of Arkansas farm and ranch families could be forced to pay the government a large portion of their inheritance when a family member dies.

Boozman emphasized Magnolia tree farmer Allen Nipper and his business as an example for the need to resolve the death tax issue. “He wrote to me about what he rightfully calls ‘multiple taxation,’” Boozman said.

In a letter to the Senator, Nipper explained what would happen to his family if Congress failed to address the death tax. “My heirs, essentially pay for the land again and again across generations until it gets to the point they have to sell the land and/or at discounted rates just to pay an estate tax bill. This multiple taxation has to stop,” Nipper wrote.

Boozman noted the 55 percent rate was “unacceptable.”

“At the very least we need to maintain current policy for another year, until we are able to implement a more permanent solution. We owe it to these hardworking families to work together to solve this issue,” Boozman said. 

In July, Boozman introduced the Death Tax Repeal Act, a bill that would permanently eliminate the federal estate and gift taxes that punish our small business owners and agriculture producers. He is also an original cosponsor of the Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act, legislation introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) that would abolish the death tax once and for all.