Helping the family farmer

In Illinois and other states, polices are often stacked against the independent family farmer especially after the death of the owner. Passing a family farm on to the next generation is hard enough without the crippling estate taxes that are required by the state and federal governments.

Currently, Illinois’ estate tax law disproportionately impacts small family farms. The value of these farms, as recognized by the estate tax, is not a pile of money sitting in a bank, but rather acres of land passed down for generations that has allowed families to carve out a living. Under the current system, many families are forced to sell off land or equipment just to pay the tax - diminishing the value of the farm and the ability of the family to earn a living from it.

To help local farm families, State Representative Avery Bourne introduced legislation to repeal the estate and inheritance taxes paid on family farms. The legislation, HB 4219, is an effort to stop double taxation of land transfers for agricultural purposes.

Bourne’s bill states that if a farmer gifts land upon death to a descendant, there is no longer a state tax due on the assessed value of the property. Currently, the rate of taxation may be as high as 51% on estate transfers (35% to the Federal Government and between 7.2% and 16% to the State Government).

We applaud Rep. Bourne's effort to diminish some of the burdens placed on the next generation of family farmers, so we can keep farms locally owned and help our rural communities contribute to the state's economy.