Charitable Giving Coalition Members Commend Bipartisan Support of Charitable Giving
WASHINGTON, D.C.— One-third of the U.S. Senate has joined Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and John Thune (R-SD) in publicly calling for the protection of the “full value and scope” of the charitable deduction in any comprehensive tax reform legislation. A total of 33 Senators—17 Democrats and 16 Republicans—signed the letter authored by Wyden and Thune that was submitted to the leadership of the Senate Finance Committee today.
By Howard Husock
The report by The Chronicle of Philanthropy that the top ten philanthropic gifts in the year past totaled $3.4 billion, and that there were more gifts of $100 million or more in 2013 (15), than in 2012 (11), serves as a reminder of American generosity. Indeed, U.S. charitable gifts total twice as large a percentage of gross domestic product (2.2 percent) as the next-closest country (the United Kingdom, 1.1 percent.)
A Preview of the Winter 2014 Edition of Philanthropy Magazine
Today is the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty and the occasion is being marked with his daughter, Lynda Johnson Robb, attending a ceremony on Capitol Hill. While the effort to combat poverty over the last half century has been significant, there is no denying that the problem continues. As the New York Times recently noted:
A Dec. 6 op-ed in The New York Times questioned the income tax charitable deduction as “wasteful government spending” and also questioned the use of donor-advised funds and private foundations to sequester money that is supposed to go for charitable purposes. In so doing, author Ray D. Madoff suggested the charitable deduction itself should be investigated.
While some abuses of the charitable deduction do occur (conservation easements for golf course developers, for example), we should not be too quick to “throw out the baby with the bath water.”
Madoff made no mention of the contributions to our economy made by the nonprofit sector. The nonprofit community is an enormous contributor to the American economy: It provides 5.5 percent of the nation’s entire GDP, released by the National Center for Charitable Statistics.
Date of Summit Announced for March 5, 2014
ACR Summit for Leaders
March 5, 2014
8:00 - 11:45 a.m.
The Embassy Suites Washington
900 10th St NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Although the charitable sector achieved many successes in 2013—providing testimony on Capitol Hill, securing bipartisan support for the charitable deduction, and mobilizing a grassroots effort conducting hundreds of meetings with lawmakers—threats to private charitable giving still remain. This year promises to be just as critical for protecting the charitable deduction as any year prior.
Tax reform will continue to be a point of interest in 2014 as the tax-writing committees prepare for change. The Senate Finance Committee will have a new Chairman earlier than anticipated. The House Ways and Means Committee may also be looking at new leadership after 2014. And of course it is also an election year.
With many tax issues still undecided, nothing is completely on or off the table. And now the prospect of new leadership on both tax-writing committees means that this is not the time for the philanthropic community to stay on the sidelines.
It is critically important for foundation executives, nonprofit leaders, and others interested in public policy to remain engaged and join us to learn about what we can do to protect the charitable deduction and educate lawmakers about the critical role of charitable organizations in a free society.
Registration: To register for the ACR Summit as well as other events of Philanthropy Week in Washington, click here.
In our pre-recess August update, we focused on efforts by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) in the first half of the year to build momentum toward tax reform. This year-end update will review major milestones from the first half of the year, update you on progress since Congress returned in September, and lay the runway for what we expect to happen in 2014.
A Look at Some of the Stories of 2013
The holiday season is upon us, presenting an opportunity to reflect on the previous year. In that spirit, we have taken a moment to revisit some of the key events and news stories of 2013. We wish all of you a happy holiday season and look forward to a new year of continuing the critical work of educating legislators about the importance of preserving policies that encourage charitable giving and protect philanthropic freedom.
By Howard Husock
‘Tis the season for charitable giving, both because of the holiday spirit and the scramble for tax deductible donations before year’s end. Americans are the most generous people on earth and the $300 billion-plus in U.S. charitable giving swamps European nations, both in magnitude and percentage of the economy. But America’s wealthiest households—whether because of their generosity or the fact that they can use the charitable tax deduction more than those who don’t itemize their tax returns, are responsible for a significant portion of overall charitable giving; itemizers, for instance, are responsible for 59 percent of all household giving. More specifically, wealthy donors come disproportionately from liberal “blue states,” where both income and property tax rates are higher—and thus the charitable tax deduction provides an extra incentive to give.