Additional legislation has been proposed to make the Minnesota exemption (currently $1.4M) the same as the Federal exemption ($10.9M). This would greatly relieve estate tax calculation for farms and small businesses as follows:
Farms: Farmland classified “2a land” (tillable) and “AG Homestead” qualifies for the Minnesota farm property estate tax exemption of $3.6M but there are two problems. First, property owners who move into eldercare facilities keep the AG Homestead classification only if they leave the home unoccupied. If someone, such as their children, moves in, owners lose the AG Homestead classification. This is a serious consideration in that vacant homes attract vandals, squatters, and meth labs. Second, property owners who move to town for safety or personal reasons, but are not ready for eldercare, automatically lose AG Homestead status. In both these situations the estate does not qualify for the $3.6M deduction. Neither of these points is widely known. Even if the property owners consult a lawyer before moving, not all lawyers are familiar with the problem.
Small Businesses: To qualify for the small business deduction of $3.6M, owners must show proof of “material participation.” This means they must somehow work in the business until they die. Since farmers do not have to work their farms forever to qualify, changes to relieve the material participation requirement for small businesses are being proposed to establish balance.