I was in an article last week in the Oregonian about passing down the farm and how my family is planning for that transition. After the article posted online I was very amazed by how many comments were made going on and on about how the death tax in Oregon isn’t going to inhibit our family’s ability to farm or pass the farm along to the next generation. To be fair there were comments going both ways, but I would still like to set a few things straight. First of all I’m writing this on my blog and not on the actual comments because I felt the need to defend my support of getting rid of the death tax over and over again, so I’m just doing it once here and those that want to read it, great, those that don’t, that’s fine too. Plus I was told a few months ago after I expressed my exhaustion of trying to convince people of certain things that I believe in, and finding that they are closed off to new suggestions or new ideas, that maybe my plan shouldn’t be to change the minds of the 5% that are adamant of certain things in life, I should focus on trying to inform the other 95% that don’t quite have their minds made up or have a more neutral attitude.
So here goes. I would first like to say that in our family, my generation hasn’t had to deal with estate taxes, since my mom and dad haven’t passed away yet. So it’s not fair to say that it won’t be a hindrance to us when that does happen someday (hopefully a faraway someday). We just recently met with their attorney and we were shown that even with lots of careful estate planning, and lots of money to attorneys and accountants we will still have to pay significant taxes when that day does come. Taxes that hopefully will be covered by life insurance, which in itself is not cheap and has to be paid for until their death!
Ag exemptions or Natural Resource Exemptions do exists, but they only increase the exemption to $7.5 million, they don’t get rid of the tax. So in reality you’re still paying the taxes and it is still a very real threat to farming families. And you might think that farms could never reach that high of estate value, well you’re very wrong. When land values can sit anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 per acre in our area, $7.5 million can be reached in a hurry. And even if you don’t end up reaching that threshold, how much money have you already spent in fees to attorney and accountants just to get that exemption and get things all set up so that you don’t have that tax liability? I’ll tell you right now, it’s not cheap!
Plus the estate tax is a double tax! Me, my parents, everyone has been paying taxes their whole life on their business. So why in the event that you die does the state feel like they are entitled to a portion of what you have worked so hard for?! We are only a fraction of states that still have the death tax at a state level; I don’t think it’s a fair tax at all! It also affects small businesses in Oregon and I truly feel that it hurts Oregon’s business economy. There was a study done on the economic impacts that would be made if Oregon got rid of the estate tax, 44,500 jobs it was they found to be the impact. These were jobs that would be created in our state, easily making up the small loss in revenue that the state would take!
There is a proposed initiative to get rid of the Death Tax in Oregon over a 4 year period. Signature cards are being signed right now to try to get this on the ballot this November. You can go to End Oregon Death Tax to get more information and sign a signature card to help us get this on the ballot this coming November and hopefully rid Oregon of this double, non-business friendly tax!