Washington, D.C. — A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress takes aim at the often-repeated conservative talking point that President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda would harm family farms and businesses.
The analysis notes that under the Biden plan, 98 percent of family farmers would not pay any additional taxes upon passing their farms to their heirs. President Biden’s proposal includes special protections for owners of family farms and businesses who plan to keep their enterprises in the family. Because of these protections, the critics’ harshest claim—that the Biden plan would force families to sell their farms and businesses, thereby preventing transfers from one generation to the next—is simply false.
The analysis points out that:
- The Biden plan allows heirs of family-owned farms and businesses to defer capital gains taxes indefinitely, so long as the farms/businesses continue to be owned and operated by members of the family. Taxes are only owed on the original owner’s gain when the enterprise is sold or is no longer operated by the family. For this reason, no one inheriting and operating a family farm or business would be forced to sell it for the purpose of paying new taxes under the Biden plan.
- Two of the major studies that critics use to attack President Biden’s plan—a study by the firm formerly known as Ernst & Young and a study by the Agricultural and Food Policy Center at Texas A&M University—don’t actually examine Biden’s proposal.
- While there would be no additional taxes for farms and businesses that remain family-owned and -operated, taxes would go up substantially for rich people who are nothing more than passive business owners. This includes nonfarmers such as Bill and Melinda Gates, who owned more farmland than any other couple in the country before their divorce.
“Conservative members of Congress are cynically using family farmers as political props so they can help millionaires and billionaires avoid paying their fair share just like everybody else,” said Nick Buffie, policy analyst at CAP and co-author of the analysis. “The vast majority of households—including farm households—will pay the same or lower taxes under Biden’s plan. The plan protects genuine family farmers while taxing wealthy landlords.”
Read the issue brief: “The American Families Plan Taxes Billionaires While Protecting Family Farms and Businesses” by Nick Buffie and Bob Lord
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Julia Cusick at email@example.com.