A proposal to change the estate tax code to keep more farms and ranches intact is back after U.S. Sen. Mark Udall reintroduced a bipartisan bill last week that never materialized in 2010.
The American Family Farm and Ranchland Protection Act is designed to help families stave off the pressure of selling, dividing or developing their farms and ranches when bequeathing them to the next generation. As the law is currently written, if a conservation easement is placed on a property 40 percent of the value of the land can be exempted from the taxable estate. The amount is capped at $500,000. But under Udall’s proposal, the exclusion rate would rise to 50 percent of the total value of the land and cap it at $5 million, providing tax relief should families designate it for agricultural and conservation use.