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Inside the Pity-Our-Farmers Tax ‘Reform’ Scam

No farm families, repeat no farm families, are losing their family farms to the federal estate tax.

 'So hardly any farm families actually face any estate tax liability. But are those who do face this liability getting taxed unfairly? Are family farm heirs being forced to “sell the family farm”? No, not even close." (Photo: Don Graham/flickr/cc)

'So hardly any farm families actually face any estate tax liability. But are those who do face this liability getting taxed unfairly? Are family farm heirs being forced to “sell the family farm”? No, not even close." (Photo: Don Graham/flickr/cc)

he politicians currently scheming to repeal the federal estate tax — America’s only tax levy on grand concentrations of private wealth — don’t have any good arguments to make. They have only bogus sob stories. The most bogus of them all: the claim that the estate tax is forcing hard-working farm families to sell their beloved farms.

The repeal crowd has been circulating this canard for years – and frightened many farm families in the process. But let’s get real. This family farm story holds absolutely no water whatsoever.

Let’s start with the basic number of farms valuable enough to subject their owners to estate tax. This figure is currently running about 30 each year. For the entire country. That’s less, on average, than one farmer per state.

So hardly any farm families actually face any estate tax liability. But are those who do face this liability getting taxed unfairly? Are family farm heirs being forced to “sell the family farm”?

No, not even close.

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Bob Lord

Bob Lord

Bob Lord, a veteran tax lawyer and former congressional candidate, practices and blogs in Phoenix, Arizona. He is also an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow.

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