Farmers fear coming changes in estate tax

Bill and Carol Chandler have long dreamed of passing down the family's Selma farm to their two sons.

But with a rollback of federal estate taxes set to expire in January, they might have to rethink those plans.

Unless Congress intervenes, their kids would face a tax of up to 55% of the value of the estate, up from 0% this year.

"It is scary," said Bill Chandler, 69. "You plan for so long, and then something comes along that could change it all."

The estate tax has long been a worry for business owners. But it's especially daunting for farmers, who typically are asset-rich and cash-poor. The tax is based on assets.

Tax cuts enacted in 2001 gradually reduced the tax and raised the minimum value of estates that could be taxed. This year, the tax rate dropped to zero.

But on Jan. 1 the tax rate is due to bounce back to where it stood 10 years ago. And the minimum value of estates to be taxed, which had reached $3.5 million last year, will drop to $1 million.

Read the complete story at