The Fight Over Taxation Is Not About A Day, But About The Next Generation

By: Garrett Hawkins, President of Missouri Farm Bureau


Tax Freedom Day this year is April 18. The day marks when the nation has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for the year. Tax Freedom Day takes all federal, state and local taxes and divides them by the nation’s income.

But don’t confuse Tax Freedom Day with Tax Day, the day individual and small business federal income taxes are due. Taxes are typically due April 15. Since that is on a Saturday this year, your federal taxes would normally be due on the following Monday, which is April 17. This year, Monday is a holiday in Washington, D.C., with the celebration of Emancipation Day. That gives taxpayers an extra day to pay their federal taxes.

It is ironic that this year Tax Day and Tax Freedom Day fall on the same day. But, when it comes to government, things are always more complicated. Tax Freedom Day does not include federal borrowing. Federal expenses have surpassed federal revenues since 2002, according to the Tax Foundation. Including the nation’s debt, Tax Freedom Day would be pushed into May.

No matter how you slice it, the tax burden is particularly heavy on farmers and ranchers. Farm Bureau has a history of fighting to reduce the stress excessive taxes put on farm operations.

In the State Capitol, a bipartisan group of leaders (Sen. Denny Hoskins, Sen. John Rizzo and Rep. Dane Diehl) are working to reduce the impact of capital gains taxes for landowners who want to sell or rent farmland to the next generation. The cost associated with capital gains taxes is a major roadblock for established farm owners who want to help beginning young farmers obtain land. At Farm Bureau, everything we do is focused on helping bring the next generation home to the farm, and helping beginning farmers get started is part of our mission.

At the federal level, estate taxes can literally tear family farms apart. Farm Bureau is working with Congress to keep estate tax deductions from expiring. Getting rid of estate taxes has been a mission for Missouri Congressman Jason Smith and remains as one his top priorities as Chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. The tax is not just unfair, it is bad tax policy. It is levied on assets that have been taxed previously through income taxes, capital gains taxes, and the corporate income tax. It disproportionately impacts family-owned businesses like farmers and ranchers that tend to be asset rich, but cash poor. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made key progress toward repealing the death tax by doubling the exemption, but this tax cut expires in 2025 and time is running out.

Missouri Farm Bureau has been in the fight for decades. We won’t give up on helping farm families keep another generation on the farm and helping new farmers get started in agriculture.