Cattlemen chew over being ‘land rich and cash poor’
Bruce W. Stroup, LUTCF, MBA of Platinum Wealth Solutions of Texas explains the current estate tax rate to members of the South Central Texas Independent Cattlemen’s Association at the chapter’s quarterly meeting Oct. 23 in Falls City.
FALLS CITY -- As the nations waits for the repercussions of “Taxmageddon” -- a one-year $494 billion tax increase slated to affect the U.S. economy, including the expiration of tax policies and the beginning of major tax increases associated with ObamaCare -- cattlemen were briefed on changes with the current estate tax exemption level and rate that expire Dec. 31. Cattlemen attending the Oct. 23 South Central Texas Independent Cattlemen’s Association chapter’s quarterly meeting in Falls City received insight to prepare for the future via estate planning.
Nicolas C. Valenti and Bruce W. Stroup, LUTCF, MBA, of Platinum Wealth Solutions of Texas, LLC, addressed the importance of estate planning.
A rancher’s estate includes the land, livestock, house, outbuildings, equipment, investments, and mineral rights, Valenti said.
When it comes to estate taxes, Stroup said the rancher is considered “land rich and cash poor.” With the current exemption of $5 million per individual (or $10 million per couple), usually no estate taxes are due on a farm or ranch. If Congress does not act before Jan. 1, however, the current exemption level drops to $1 million per individual. Values exceeding the exemption level are currently taxed at 35 percent and will increase to 55 percent. Stroup said the tax is due nine months after death; with proper structure, estate taxes can be avoided.
Valenti gave examples if the 2013 rate goes into effect. A $5 million cattle ranch could be faced with a $1.65 million estate tax bill at the higher rate. With the ongoing Eagle Ford shale oil and natural gas exploration, Valenti said a $10 million estate could face a $4.4 million estate tax bill.
Stroup added that landowners should be careful with protecting their assets, since most oil/gas production maxes out within three to six years.
Also addressing the estate tax issue was issue was W.V. “Bill” Hyman, executive director of the Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas (ICA). While this issue may be discussed on Capitol Hill during the Lame Duck Session, another concern is the Farm Bill. Both issues might be considered in the new year, with retroactive clauses added, he said.
Hyman also spoke of the upcoming state legislative session. The state budget, school funding, and the Texas Water Plan are among the top three items to be discussed, Hyman said. He said a special session might be in order to discuss one or all three of the issues, if not resolved in regular session.
Hyman also addressed other programs that will go into effect Jan. 1, including the state animal identification program. For more, see page 1D.