Local Lawmakers to Introduce Estate Tax Bill

Published 01/09 2014 06:57PM

Updated 01/10 2014 01:13PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md.Western Maryland lawmakers are working on bills to reduce estate taxes in the state.

A change in the current law would benefit family businesses who are currently taxed at a very high rate.

“Many times in small businesses and farms, the major asset is real estate and it’s very hard to liquidate and its really important that real estate – or that business – stay in tact in order to pass it on to the next generation,” said Mary Jane Ropp, co-owner of Brookfield Farm.

Del. Kathy Afzali (R-Frederick) introduced a similar bill two years ago which only addressed farms – her new bill also includes familybusinesses.      

“What happens is family business or farms are having to sell their property and business off in order to pay the estate tax,” Afzali said.

The bill Afzali plans to introduce this session would exempt farms and family business from paying taxes on the first $5 million in assets. Currently only the first $1 million is exempt.

Maryland residents should not be penalized because they’ve chosen to stay in Maryland,” said Sen. David Brinkley (R-Frederick) who plans to introduce a separate bill that would provide estate tax relief to all Maryland residents. “Right now, Maryland is the worst state to have an estate tax return in besides New Jersey.”

It’s likely other law makers may also introduce similar bills during the session.

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