Farm estate taxes vary by type of family farm

A chart showing the distribution of farm operator estates, returns, and taxes across farm types in a forecast for 2013.

The Federal estate tax applies to the transfer of property after death. Under present law, the estate of a decedent who at death owns assets in excess of the estate tax exemption amount ($5.25 million in 2013 for an individual, $10.5 million for married couples) must file a Federal estate tax return. Based on simulations using farm-level survey data from the 2011 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), only about 2.7 percent of family farm estates would be required to file an estate tax return in 2013, with a much smaller share of estates (about .6 percent) owing any Federal estate tax. The impact of the Federal estate tax varies by farm type. Most Federal estate taxes are owed by larger family farm estates. Although these farms account for only about 5 percent of all family farm estates, they account for 73 percent of total family farm estate taxes paid. Only about 7.3 percent of the estimated 2,103 estates involving larger family farms are likely to owe Federal estate taxes in 2013. This chart is found in the ERS topic page on Federal Tax Issues, updated November 2013.

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