Committee Reports on Feedback Given to Tax Reform Working Groups

A lengthy report by the Joint Committee on Taxation summarizes the current state of the U.S. tax code and recent public comments about changing the system. It will be used by legislators as they craft a comprehensive tax reform package this year.

The House Ways and Means Committee received a 558-page report from the Joint Committee on Taxation [PDF] last week, after months of work by the JCT to summarize the current U.S. tax code. The report does not contain any specific policy recommendations for tax reform but summarizes current law and stakeholder feedback provided to the 11 tax reform working groups formed by Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) earlier this year.

“This document provides an important and comprehensive overview of the tax code, an overview of some of the most commonly referenced previous tax reform proposals, and summarizes the views of more than 1,300 submissions offered to the Ways and Means Committee by key stakeholders,” Camp, who heads the committee, said in a statement announcing the release of the report. “The committee will dig into its details over the coming weeks.”

Ways and Means members met privately last week to further discuss some of the working group findings and will start piecing together a tax reform bill that Camp hopes to pass later this year.

According to the report, the Working Group on Charitable/Exempt Organizations, led by Reps. David Reichert (R-WA) and John Lewis (D-GA), received comments that showed general support for preserving the charitable deduction and opposed changes to their current tax treatment that could discourage giving.

“Several comments urge Congress to retain the charitable deduction in its present form,” the report said. “Other comments argue that the value of present-law incentives for charitable deductions should not be reduced, or that Congress should proceed with caution when considering changes to the deduction to ensure that changes do not cause a reduction in the overall level of charitable giving. Other comments more specifically oppose recent proposals to limit the deductibility of charitable contributions.”

The working group received several comments that supported reforming the charitable deduction, which included converting it into a 28 percent “itemized credit” or adopting an alternative tax incentive that “would achieve similar results.”

Representatives of dozens of tax-exempt and charitable organizations attended a hearing earlier this year to show their support for the charitable deduction and express concern about how changes to it might affect their work.

ASAE submitted comments last month to the charitable/tax-exempt working group. All public comments submitted to the Ways and Means working groups can be viewed on the committee’s website.


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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