Last week Republican leaders unveiled a “unified framework” for tax reform that will serve as the basis for major tax reform legislation currently being drafted by the two tax-writing committees. This legislation, expected to move through Congress later this year, would significantly reduce charitable giving in America. Although the framework maintains the current-law charitable deduction, the vast majority of taxpayers – as many as 95 percent! – would no longer itemize deductions on their taxes, meaning the charitable deduction would become virtually meaningless to them.
Republican leaders in the House have setup a short online survey to gauge public support for this framework. CGP is asking all members to submit a response.
Here’s what you can do:
- Click on the link above and answer the question “What do you think of the GOP tax reform plan?”
- Select “It could use some work.”
- Then share whatever comments you’d like (we’ve provided a sample response below that you can copy and paste).
- Fill-in your email address (they promise not to share your address or spam you).
- Click "Submit.”
It's that easy! Make your voice heard and protect charitable giving in America.
While I support many of the goals of this framework (e.g., make the tax code simpler, fairer, and more conducive to sustained economic growth), I am concerned it would also significantly reduce charitable giving throughout the country.
Yes, the framework would maintain the current-law charitable deduction, but because the vast majority of taxpayers would no longer itemize under this plan, the charitable deduction would become meaningless to all but just five percent of taxpayers. That translates into significantly less dollars for charities and the communities and individuals they serve. In fact, a study by Indiana University (https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/handle/1805/12599) was able to quantify this very point. The study found that if the provisions in the framework that call for raising the standard deduction and lowering the top marginal rate were enacted into law, charitable giving would decrease by as much as $13.1 billion. Less charitable giving means less money for programs and services upon which your constituents rely.
How can we fix this? Congress should enact a "universal charitable deduction" that is available to all taxpayers, regardless of income level. Such a deduction would increase giving both in terms of dollars and donors, increase fairness by treating all taxpayers’ contributions equally, and provide some modest tax relief to middle- and lower-income taxpayers. And, according to that same Indiana University study, a universal charitable deduction would not only offset the loss in charitable giving caused by changes in the framework, it would actually increase overall giving by as much as $4.7 billion.