Charities Urge Congress to Save Tax Deduction

Eliminating the deduction for contributions could hit charities hard, says the Charitable Giving Coalition.

With both Democrats and Republicans expressing some willingness to cap tax deductions for higher-income households, hundreds of nonprofit professionals went to Washington December 5 to urge Congress not to take away a powerful incentive for charitable giving.

Members of the Charitable Giving Coalition, including ASAE, believe that capping the charitable tax deduction could have a profound impact on private donations that support thousands of worthy causes all over the world. Independent Sector, which helped organize the legislative fly-in last week, has estimated that annual giving could drop by as much as 36 percent if the deduction were eliminated. Capping the value of the deduction at 28 percent for households with income above $250,000 a year, as proposed by the White House, could reduce giving by as much as $7 billion a year, the organization says.

Coalition advocates’ message to the Hill was focused less on incentives for higher-income donors and more on the impact the proposal would have on nonprofit groups that serve millions of people in need. The coalition has estimated that for every $1 subject to the charitable deduction, communities reap up to $3 in benefits.

President Obama last week told business leaders that concerns over charitable giving are partly driving the administration’s push to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for higher-income earners. Speaking about the tax deal offered by Republicans last week, Obama said it’s not possible to raise the amount of revenue needed just by limiting deductions and closing loopholes, unless the charitable deduction were eliminated.

Obama said charities are the “glue that holds our communities together. So the notion that somehow we’re going to just eliminate charitable deductions is unlikely.”


Chris Vest, CAE

By Chris Vest, CAE

Chris Vest, CAE is vice president, corporate communications and public relations at ASAE. MORE

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