Etheridge sponsors tax relief for family farms

Washington, D.C. -— U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-Lillington), the only North Carolina member of the House Ways and Means Committee, announced today that he has co-sponsored H.R. 436, the Certain Estate Tax Relief Act of 2009.

The bill would make permanent the current $3.5 million individual estate tax exemption, providing estate tax certainty for all Americans and will benefit family farmers and small business owners.

“This legislation is a fiscally responsible way to protect small business owners and family farmers from the unintended effect of the estate tax,” said Etheridge. “This bill will end the estate tax for 99.7 percent of Americans and, equally as important, provide certainty in estate planning for those few who are affected.”

H.R. 436 would reform the nation’s tax code by maintaining the individual estate tax exemption at $3.5 million ($7 million per couple). Less than 0.3% of Americans would be subject to the estate tax with this exemption.

Current tax law repeals the estate tax in 2010 for just one year. Under current law, the estate tax returns in 2011 with only a $1 million exemption, which would then affect nearly 50,000 Americans and 3,000 family farms. The Certain Estate Tax Relief Act of 2009 offers a fiscally responsible alternative that allows families the ability to plan for their estates with certainty.

This legislation is accommodated by the “Pay-As-You-Go” Act that Etheridge voted for earlier this week. The PAYGO Act promotes fiscal responsibility and will work to reduce the deficit. Etheridge’s vote requires that tax cuts or new entitlement spending be paid for through budget cuts or tax increases.

“Hard-working Americans should be able to continue their family’s work, whether on a farm or in a small business. They should not be taxed out of business for the livelihood they choose,” said Etheridge. “Congress remains committed to stimulating and improving the economy through job creation.”