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Elder Law and Estate Planning Blog - Lancaster, PA

Monday, July 16, 2012

Inheritance Tax for Farmers? Not any more!

On July 2, Governor Tom Corbett signed a piece of legislation that exePennsylvania Eliminates State Inheritance Tax for Farmsmpts farmers from inheritance tax.  This law, effective for all deaths after June 30, 2012, allows farmers to pass down their farms to their heirs without having to worry about the farm paying taxes after death.  These taxes (4.5% for children of the decedent, and 12% for siblings) left a large burden for those inheriting them, because although farmers are rich in land, they are often time poor in cash.  In order to pay the taxes, they would have to sell their farmland, causing farms to shrink in size and productivity as the family line grew longer.

When signing the bill, Corbett said that this tax has forced many families "to sell their legacy, their land and their way of life."  Now, as long as the farm is a working farm, it can be passed to immediate family members without having to pay inheritance tax.  In the past, farmers all knew of friends that had to dissolve the farm to pay inheritance tax.  Now, the nearly 63,000 farming families in Pennsylvania will be able to pass along the land and the business.

Cutting this tax is obviously cutting a source of revenue for state operation, making the budget a bit tighter.  However, agriculture is the top industry in the state, so this law could be healthier for the future of Pennsylvania.  The 8 million acres of farmland in Pennsylvania generates almost $6 billion in sales each year, and by protecting the land through eliminating inheritance tax, Pennsylvania can protect this industry.


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