SAFE: A history of successful education and advocacy

Saving America’s Family Enterprises (SAFE) is a bipartisan research and education organization focused on comprehensive tax reforms that raise revenue, increase fairness, promote greater efficiency, and encourage companies to do more business In the United States.

SAFE is focused currently on a number of state and Federal proposals to tax unrealized gains. These proposals vary widely in their definitions of covered assets and affected households, but each fails to recognize the difficulty of producing reliable appraisals for illiquid assets (like real estate, privately held businesses, or intellectual property) year-to-year. These proposals also ignore how much asset values rise and fall over time. A tax on unrealized gains is, in practice, a “guess tax.” Auditing subjectively valued guess tax returns would require the IRS to appraise trillions of dollars in illiquid assets every year – a challenge our current tax system was designed specifically to avoid.

During the last Congress, SAFE successfully worked to educate voters nationwide about the STEP Act (a bill to eliminate the stepped-up basis provision in the federal tax code) and its negative consequences for farmers, family businesses, and parents who want to pass what they worked so hard to build in their lifetime onto their loved ones.



New York Times: Democrats and lobbyists gird for battle over far-reaching tax increase 09/07/2021

“This is very consistent with my concern about revitalizing the Democratic Party in rural America,” Ms. Heitkamp said. “You may want to do this,” she said she had counseled her former colleagues, “but understand there will be risk, and risk is the entire agenda.”

Politico: It's go time, Weekly Tax 09/07/2021

“Just last week, former Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) joined former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) as prominent former Democratic lawmakers with questions about the stepped-up basis proposal and particularly its impact on family farms and ranches.”

Roll Call: Senate Democrats’ tax options include big farm gains exemption 09/03/2021

“But Republicans — and Democrats who once served in Congress — are hitting hard at the idea, saying it will make passing down family businesses and farms untenable. The last Democrat to hold the Senate Finance gavel before Wyden, Max Baucus, said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Wednesday that eliminating stepped-up basis would be a mistake and force the liquidation of family farms and businesses. Baucus represented Montana and is from a ranching family. Another former Democratic senator from farm country, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, is leading a coalition opposed to the tax. House Democrats from rural districts have also expressed concern with the Biden plan, including several members with tough races next year.”

CNBC: Former Democratic Senator sounds the alarm about Biden’s plan to tax assets at death 09/01/2021

“Former Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, one of the party’s leading voices on tax policy, said President Joe Biden’s proposal to tax appreciated assets upon death would hurt family farms and family-owned businesses. “I’m trying to sound the alarm, both economically and politically, for Democrats that this is not a path to walk,” she said in an interview on “Squawk Box.” “The disruption that it would create for small family business and farmers and family assets is not worth the pain.”

Former Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), former Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, in the Des Moines Register: Opinion: American Families Plan 'transfer tax' proposal is the real threat to agriculture 08/08/2021

“I would argue this transfer tax, which could be as high as 43.4%, is the worst idea that has been proposed in terms of its impact on agriculture in my lifetime.
“This proposal is a direct assault on agriculture because it will prohibit the transfer of a family farm from one generation to the next, which is the last thing we should want to do.“


See how taxing unrealized gains could impact American families.