INFB grassroots activity makes national news

This fall, INFB mobilized its grassroots to express concern about a proposal from the IRS to change the way business assets would be valued for estate tax purposes when they are part of a family-owned partnership, LLC or corporation.

The well-renowned news site POLITICO published a story about the opposition to this proposed rule change.

Their story said, “Of the nearly 9,500 comments on the Treasury Department's proposed rule to crack down on a maneuver wealthy business owners use to avoid paying estate taxes when transferring assets to family members, about 16 percent cited the potential negative impact on farmers as reason for opposition.”

It went on to say, “The Indiana Farm Bureau, in particular, launched an organized campaign calling on Treasury to withdraw the proposal, with 400 members filing comments that it will make it more difficult for families to offer ownership to those “well positioned to continue to operate the business when there’s a death in the family.”

The proposed rules would make it much more difficult for families to pass businesses on to the next generation of owners. Hoosier farmers who operate in a family-owned partnership, LLC or corporation would lose a valuable estate planning tool that could result in increased estate taxes.

How assets are valued makes a dramatic difference for gift and estate tax purposes. The IRS’s proposed regulations would discourage families from continuing to operate and build their family businesses and pass them on to future generations.

INFB’s specific recognition by a national news agency is affirmation of the power of this organization’s grassroots capabilities. When the long-term viability of the family farm came under threat from the IRS, members found their voice in the public policy process, and it showed, noted INFB national government relations policy advisor Kyle Cline. The deserved recognition should be a launching pad for grassroots policy engagement at levels of government in 2017 and beyond.