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6/18/2019 » 6/21/2019
2019 National Conference of Private Forest Landowners

The Estate Tax
The Forest Landowners Association supports a commonsense tax code that does not impose a destructive double or triple tax at death. We support the inclusion of full and permanent repeal of the federal estate tax as part of comprehensive tax reform.

"You work your whole life to build up a nest egg or a family-owned business or family farm. Then you pass away...Uncle Sam can swoop in and take over 40 percent of everything you've earned over a certain amount. It's just wrong," House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady calling the Estate Tax "un-American."


The Federal estate tax, also known as the “death tax” has been a priority legislative issue for FLA and Forest America’s Caretakers for decades. The death tax places an immense financial and emotional burden on the families who own and manage America’s private forests at a time of grief for families. Many of our Caretakers’ forests have been in their families for generations, and the prospect of having to sell these forests to pay a stifling confiscatory tax is in essence punishing them for pursuing and achieving the American dream.

Poll after poll over many years find a super-majority of voters support repealing the death tax.

But for Forest America’s Caretakers, it’s even more important. Many of our members have grown their forest lands over decades into thriving family business that help support multiple generations. To have to sell off those lands to pay the death tax is unfair and can have a devastating impact on the entire family. Statistics show that more than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation, and 90 percent of family businesses do not survive to the third generation!

Earlier this year, the Forest Landowners Association sent a letter to Congressional leaders supporting the introduction of the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017. We are now calling on Congress to act on passing a common-sense tax code that does not impose a destructive double or triple tax at death.


  • H.R. 631, The Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017, to repeal estate taxes while continuing the stepped-up basis.  Introduced by Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.).
  • S. 205, introduced by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) is the companion legislation in the Senate.


In conjunction with our partner, Family Business Coalition, FLA supported the below letters of support related to tax reform. 
  • September 12, 2017: Letter to Senate Majority Leader McConnell, Speaker Ryan, Chairman Hatch, and Chairman Brady supporting the inclusion of full and permanent repeal of the federal estate tax as part of comprehensive tax reform
  • April 27, 2017: Letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reiterating our request for the pending 2704 estate and gift tax regulations to be withdrawn. 
  • September 22, 2016: Letter to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew opposing the Department of Treasury’s proposed changes to Section 2704 on estate and gift tax valuation discounts. These rules will significantly change family businesses’ succession plans and make it harder for family owned businesses to transition to the next generation. The changes proposed to Section 2704 would remove legitimate valuation discounts for estate, gift, and generation skipping taxes which businesses have used for the past two decades in order to prevent the IRS from overvaluing their businesses at death. 
  • September 29, 2016: Sent a Call to Engage to FLA members that resulted in 41 Members of Congress sending a letter to Treasury Secretary Lew expressing serious concerns over proposed regulations (REG-163113-02) published on August 4, 2016, under Internal Revenue Code section 2704 ("proposed regulations") that, if finalized in their current form, will significantly increase the estate tax burden on family businesses. 
  • November 3, 2016: Sent Call to Engage to FLA members resulting in 24 U.S. House Representatives signing a letter to Treasury Secretary Lew stating the proposed rule regarding Section 2704 is not consistent with congressional intent.


FLA has been engaged in meetings with legislative influencers including the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance and the House Ways & Means Committee advocating for tax provisions which benefit family forestry businesses.  Following are meetings FLA has had advocating on behalf of forest landowners on tax policy.

Senate Finance Committee
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) (
Sen. Jonny Isakson (R-GA)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) 
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA)
Senate Finance Committee, Senior Tax and Energy Counsel
Senate Finance Committee, Republican Tax and Oversight Counsel

House Ways and Means Committee
Rep. George Holding (R-NC)
Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL)
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)
Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC)
House Ways & Means Committee, Tax Policy Subcommittee, Tax Counsel
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senior Tax Counsel




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