Act NOW! Charitable Giving Policies Up for Votes This Week!
November 13, 2017
The House and Senate are voting this week on new tax laws that will impact charitable giving for years to come. Orchestras have been contacting their elected leaders throughout 2017, and we're asking you to please reach out once again and join nonprofit organizations nationwide as we urge Congress to help Americans support their communities through charitable giving. At this point, the House and Senate tax reform bills do not include provisions to safeguard against potential drops in giving as fewer taxpayers itemize their returns. The Senate Finance Committee considers its bill starting TODAY and the full House is set to consider its version of tax reform THIS WEEK. With both chambers on a fast track to approve their bills, this is an important time to be heard!
The League's online advocacy campaign makes it easy to send an email to your elected officials, and with the stakes so high, we're also asking that you go a step further. Please also consider calling the Capitol switchboard (202-225-3121) and asking for your members of Congress.
Here is the key request being advanced by the nonprofit sector:
Provide giving incentives for growing ranks of nonitemizers by supporting a universal charitable deduction.
- As the standard deduction is doubled under both the House and Senate bills, the number of those taking the charitable deduction is expected to drop dramatically.
- The Joint Committee on Taxation confirmed that the number of those benefiting from the charitable deduction would decline from 40.7 million taxpayers deducting charitable contributions in 2018 under current law to just 9.4 million taxpayers deducting charitable contributions under the House reform proposal.
- If only 5% of taxpayers itemize their returns, the corresponding declines in giving are estimated to be more than $13 billion per year.
- Congress can take action to ensure that all taxpayers still have an incentive to give by offering a "universal charitable deduction" available to those who do not itemize their tax returns.
- There are growing signs of support. Senator John Thune (R-SD) has introduced an amendment stating that, "Congress should ensure that the value and scope of the deduction for charitable contributions is not diminished during a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code." Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Finance Committee Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) are offering an amendment to create a universal charitable deduction as the Senate Finance Committee considers its bill. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) has introduced the Universal Charitable Giving Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.
How else will tax reform affect your organization? The House and Senate bills include many other provisions that will change the rules for nonprofits and alter incentives for charitable giving. Please see our overview of key tax reform policy issues, which we will keep up to date as Congressional action unfolds.