Until a few years ago, special use valuation was viewed as fading rapidly in importance. The repeal of the federal estate tax after 2009 led many owners of larger estates owning farm or ranch property to believe that time spent qualifying for special use valuation could be better spent elsewhere. However, two developments have changed the picture in recent months: (1) the political winds have shifted and it is now far from clear that the transfer taxes (federal estate tax and generation-skipping transfer tax ) will be repealed and the odds on bet is that the taxes in question will survive, albeit with a higher applicable exclusion amount and (2) farm and ranch land has been posting double digit gains in recent years, causing some to believe that their estate might exceed the amount of the fairly generous applicable exclusion amount that is likely to be enacted in 2009 by the Congress. Special use valuation, if the requirements are met, can reduce the gross estate by as much as $960,000 for deaths in 2008. That provides a powerful economic incentive to be sure the conditions of eligibility are met for special use valuation.
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