Permanently repealing the death tax


It takes a tremendous amount of hard work to start a small business and run a farm. From balancing the books and maintaining inventory to paying employees and complying with burdensome rules and regulations, these enterprises require long hours and real commitment to be successful and profitable.

In Iowa, many of our farms and small businesses are family-owned-and-operated, which is not only a testament to the grit and dedication of our families, but also a source of pride for our great state. This also means that a death in the family – which is tragic and heartbreaking – has serious ramifications for the future of a family farm or business.

Over 99% of our country’s two million farms and ranches and over 95% of our nation’s small businesses are owned and operated by individuals and families. In other words, the American economy is powered by mom-and-pop shops on main street and farms that have been in the family for generations. Naturally, the federal government only sees these incredible farms and small businesses as potential sources of tax revenue, completely ignoring the sacrifice and labor that made these enterprises successful.

Currently, when a family member passes away, the federal government imposes an unfair and costly tax on the transfer of property, land, and other assets from the deceased family member to heirs of family farms and small businesses. This tax – which is known as the estate tax or the death tax – represents double taxation at its worst. Iowa families grieving the loss of a loved one should not face an enormous tax bill from the federal government just to continue the family tradition of farming or keep their small business open and operational.

On my 36 County Tour, I have spoken to too many farmers and small business owners who are fearful that their children and grandchildren will not be able to uphold the family tradition because the death tax would require them to sell land, equipment, and other assets just to pay the enormous tax bill levied by the federal government. I’ve also had several conversations with members of my Agriculture Advisory Board who are concerned – like I am – that the next generation of Iowa farmers and producers face financial hurdles and other challenges when it comes to farming, which are only exacerbated by the death tax. It’s absolutely infuriating and unacceptable.

That’s why I recently led 162 of my colleagues in introducing the Death Tax Repeal Act to permanently repeal the death tax, ensure that hardworking families, farmers, and small businesses keep more of their hard-earned money, and strengthen family-owned-and-operated enterprises in Iowa. My bill – which enjoys support from 194 organizations across the country – would enable these multigenerational businesses to continue to support their families without having to pay a devastating tax upon the death of a family member. It’s my belief that our families are already taxed enough as it is. President Biden doesn’t need to extract more money from hardworking farmers and businesses in rural America to fund his reckless spending policies and Green New Deal agenda.

By fully eliminating the death tax, we can keep China away from our farmland, allow family farms and small businesses to succeed, and encourage the next generation of Iowa farmers and business owners to plant their roots in rural Iowa, support our main streets, and contribute to our economy. Serving on both the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, I will continue to be a strong voice for Iowa farmers and small businesses who deserve lower taxes and peace of mind.

We are government together, and your thoughts and opinions matter to me. Please contact my office at Feenstra.House.Gov or by phone at 202-225-4426 if I can ever be of assistance. I am proud to represent our families, farmers, main street businesses, and rural communities in Congress.


Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, represents Iowa’s Fourth District in the U.S. House.


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