Benninghoff: House Finance Committee Passes Farmer-Friendly Tax Relief Bill
HARRISBURG – The House Finance Committee chaired by Rep. Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin) today approved a bill that would allow more farmers to pass their land onto the next generation in their families by exempting the properties from Pennsylvania’s inheritance tax.

“This measure is good for Pennsylvania farmers and, therefore, good for the people who consume food and products harvested by Pennsylvania farmers,” Benninghoff said. “This bill is about allowing mothers and fathers who farm to pass their property onto their sons and daughters without having to pay the burdensome inheritance tax. This legislation would allow more family farms to stay within the family.”

Under current Pennsylvania law, children who inherit farmland from their parents must pay a 4.5 percent inheritance tax. If the farmland is left to a sibling, the inheritor must pay a 12 percent inheritance tax in Pennsylvania.

“This bill also will help to preserve farmland from development,” Benninghoff said. “If someone inherits a farm and he or she needs to pay 12 percent of the value up front in inheritance tax, chances are the inheritor is going to have to sell off part of the farm just to pay the tax. That could lead to the property being developed instead of remaining a family farm. If the goal is to preserve Pennsylvania farmland, this bill could really help.”

The bill also would apply the inheritance tax exemption to farm commodities, such as animals and plants.

“The intent is to make it as easy as possible for the next generation to continue farming,” Benninghoff said. “If the son or daughter gets the land without paying inheritance tax but then has to pay the tax for the plants or animals, it’s still an obstacle to carrying on the family business. He or she is likely going to have to sell part of the farm to pay the tax.”

The bill also would exempt from the state inheritance tax forest reserves that are passed along from a parent to a child or the parent’s brother or sister.

The bill now heads to the floor of the House for consideration by the entire chamber.

State Representative Kerry Benninghoff
171st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Dan Massing 
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