Is permanent death tax repeal likely? Hard to say

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WASHINGTON – While in Washington D.C. last week, Ohio Farm Bureau members lobbied for support to repeal the estate tax, often also called the death tax. The tax rate can be as high as 47 percent.
The Farm Bureau backs legislation, H.R. 8, cosponsored by U.S. Reps. Kenny Hulshof, R-Mo., and Robert Cramer, D-Ala., that would make the death tax repeal permanent. A companion bill in the Senate, S.420, was introduced by Sens. Jim Kyl, R-Ariz., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
Current law phases down the death tax through 2009 and eliminates it completely in 2010. Language in the measure, however, permits the reinstatement of the tax in 2011.
The organization said roughly twice the number of farm estates paid federal death taxes in the late 1900s compared to estates in general.
Small business partner. The farm group may find an estate tax ally in the main lobbying arm for small businesses.
The National Federation of Independent Businesses thinks there are enough votes in Congress to permanently repeal the tax. Some expect a vote in the House by, appropriately enough, April 15.
But that timeline is just a guess, says American Farm Bureau Federation lobbyist Pat Wolff.
Wolff, quoted in the federation’s national newsletter, likened tax bills to a train.
“You never know which cars, or provisions, are going to be on the train and you don’t know when it will start to move.”
Not likely. U.S. Rep. John Boehner, Ohio’s lone voice on the House Ag Committee, told the Farm Bureau leaders not to get their hopes up.
“It’s going to be difficult in this budget environment to make these cuts permanent,” Boehner said. “I don’t see anything happening this year.”

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