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Hyde-Smith, others question USDA data on Biden tax plan impact on farms, ranches

U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), of Brookhaven, and fellow members of the Senate Agriculture Committee are asking for the public release of U.S. Department of Agriculture data that clarifies how President Biden’s bid to increase taxes will affect American family farms and ranches.

The Republican Senators signed a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that questions the USDA analysis that concluded 98% of farm estates will be unaffected by Biden’s proposed capital gains tax rate changes and step-up in basis adjustments on the value of inherited assets.  The USDA made that assertion in a statement issued when the president unveiled his “American Families Plan,” but did not provide the public with supporting data.

“The proposed tax impacts are dependent on a number of factors, including but not limited to appreciation in farmland assets prior to a property owner’s death, size of the farm operation and associated assets, income of the heirs, and the farm’s ownership structure.  Given these factors, we are writing to seek a detailed explanation and supporting economic analysis clarifying how these tax provisions will affect farm estates, including specifically how USDA arrived at the conclusion that fewer than 2% of farm estates will be impacted by the proposed tax changes,” the senators wrote.

The senators have asked Vilsack to provide a detailed explanation and any supporting USDA economic analyses within 30 days.

The letter also cites a recent Perdue University Ag Economy Barometer report in which 95% of respondents said they are “concerned” or “very concerned” that proposed estate tax policy changes would make it more difficult to pass their farm on to the next generation of farmers in their family.

Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) led the letter, which was also signed by senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa).