As of January 2013, the estate tax levels are permanently set at a $5 million exemption ($10 million for couples) and a 40 percent tax rate—a slight increase from the 35 percent estate tax we advocated to maintain in 2012. The exemption level is adjusted for inflation each year.
While the current exemption level works for most family forest owners, Congress needs to pass the Keep the Forest and the Farm in the Family Act (H.R. 6439, in the previous Congress) to fix some other problems in the tax code around the estate tax to help reduce the estate tax burden on family forest owners, so that the cherished woodlands of today's landowners can stay in their families for generations to come.
Tax policies can make or break America's family forest owners. Families own 251 million acres of America's forests, and most of these families don't make six figure salaries. When family forest owners are hit with a large estate tax bill, some are forced to sell off land or harvest timber prematurely.
Fixing the estate tax for America's family forests is a key step in our effort to stem the loss of America's woodlands. Overall, tax policies should create a positive environment for keeping forests as forests. Read more.