Iowa State University Ag economist Neil Harl has drawn the ire of Republicans for questioning their claims about the estate tax. Republicans in Congress pushing for repeal of the “death tax” say some heirs are forced to sell the farm in order to pay federal and state estate taxes. Dr. Harl says Republicans “used” the story of farmers because the federal estate tax is only paid by the wealthiest two percent of Americans.Under current law, the “death” tax kicks in on estates worth 675-thousand dollars or more. For example, Harl says many Americans now take advantage of trusts so their descendants pay absolutely no taxes on their estate. Iowa Republicans, like Senator Charles Grassley, are harshly critical of Harl’s statements. Grassley says many Iowa farmers are fretting about how to handle farm finances so their heirs aren’t hit with high estate taxes.
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