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Oct 21, 2021

Tester to Schumer, Wyden: “I cannot support the proposed changes…to ‘stepped-up basis’”

Senator’s letter comes as Senate Leadership negotiates pay-fors for reconciliation package

Continuing his aggressive effort to protect Montana’s family farms, ranches, and small businesses, U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) stating his continued opposition to proposed changes to the “stepped-up basis” provision of the tax code as the Senate negotiates pay-fors for the 2021 reconciliation package.

“As we move into a new phase of negotiations on reconciliation, I write to reiterate that I cannot support the proposed changes in the American Families Plan to ‘stepped-up basis’ which would negatively impact a families’ ability to keep running a farm, ranch, or small business from one generation to the next,” wrote Tester. “We need to protect our family farms, ranches, and small businesses. They are the life blood of rural communities all across the country.

Tester continued: “These small family operations need predictability to plan for the transitions that enable their businesses to thrive across generations. The elimination of ‘stepped-up basis’ could have a catastrophic impact on small businesses in Montana. We should be working to support these family businesses, not making changes that put their continued operation in jeopardy.”

The American Families Plan proposes changes to taxes paid on inherited assets, in particular eliminating the so called “stepped up basis.” Tester played a leading role in ensuring that these changes were not included the House-written package unveiled in September, and this week’s letter comes as Senate leadership is working to put together a compromise proposal. Tester has repeatedly said that any package must be fully paid for to earn his support.

Under current law, when an asset is inherited following the death of the owner, the asset's value for tax purposes is automatically increased to the property's fair market value at the date of death and taxes are not owed on the change in value during the previous owner's lifetime. This adjustment is called a stepped-up basis, and it can play a big role in how much tax a working farm or ranch pays and whether or not those assets can be passed down to the next generation. Tester has consistently heard from Montana producers and small businesses owners that the proposed changes will put the continued operations of family farms, ranches, and small businesses in jeopardy.

Read Tester’s full letter HERE and below.

October 19, 2021

The Honorable Charles Schumer
Senate Majority Leader
Room S-221, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Ron Wyden
Senate Committee on Finance
219 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510


Dear Majority Leader Schumer and Chairman Wyden:

As we move into a new phase of negotiations on reconciliation, I write to reiterate that I cannot support the proposed changes in the American Families Plan to “stepped-up basis” which would negatively impact a families’ ability to keep running a farm, ranch, or small business from one generation to the next. We need to protect our family farms, ranches, and small businesses. They are the life blood of rural communities all across the country.

These small family operations need predictability to plan for the transitions that enable their businesses to thrive across generations. The elimination of “stepped-up basis” could have a catastrophic impact on small businesses in Montana. We should be working to support these family businesses, not making changes that put their continued operation in jeopardy.

I’m proud to work to protect Montana’s family farms and ranches – whether from consolidation and lack of competition in the marketplace, tariffs and trade wars in recent years, or from changes to the tax code that hurt predictability or could cause these small inter-generational operations to sell assets to pay a new tax assessed at the time of a family member’s death. I know that we share the goal of protecting these small businesses.

I continue to strongly oppose any change to the tax code that would hurt the continued operation of family farms, ranches, and small businesses. I appreciate the work you are both doing to create good-paying jobs and invest in working families. I stand ready to continue this work as negotiations continue.

Sincerely,

Jon Tester

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.

Billings

Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768

Bozeman

Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647

Butte

Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586

Helena

208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974

Missoula

130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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