On Thursday, October 12 more than 50 nonprofit leaders who specialize in charitable gift planning convened on Capitol Hill urging Members of Congress and senior Congressional staff to protect the full value of the charitable deduction. Lawmakers are presently drafting the largest rewrite of the federal tax code in 30 years, and legislation is expected to move through Congress in November.
Event participants, who boarded a bus at 7:00 am from Baltimore where they were attending the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning earlier in the week, hailed from Hawaii to Massachusetts, Michigan to Texas, representing 17 states in all. Collectively, the group met with 60 Congressional offices, including lawmakers on the two tax-writing committees, Congressional leadership, and supporters and detractors alike in order to press their case.
CGP’s Capitol Hill meetings come after Republican leaders released a “unified framework” for tax reform late last month. Although the framework would retain the current-law charitable deduction, the vast majority of taxpayers – some 95 percent – would no longer itemize their deductions under the plan. Those taxpayers would therefore be unable to take the charitable deduction, which helps generate billions of dollars for institutions that are the fabric of our civil society, supporting nearly every facet of life in our communities: education, research, health services, housing and shelter, job training, arts, culture, environmental protection, historic preservation, civil rights, civic engagement, and so much more. During their meetings, participants shared with Congress the results of a study by Indiana University that found if the provisions in the framework were enacted into law, charitable giving could decrease by as much as $13 billion.
Given these stark realities, meeting participants provided a solution to this potential loss of revenue, advocating that lawmakers enact a universal charitable deduction that would be available to all taxpayers.
OUR “ASK” IN TAX REFORM
• Tax reform should take good tax policy and make it better – it should include incentives to encourage more Americans to give more money to charity.
• American voters strongly support incentives for charitable giving. A 2016 national survey of voters, for example, found that 88% believe Congress should make it easier to deduct charitable contributions from taxes. 79% believe that all taxpayers should be able to take advantage of the charitable deduction.
• Congress should therefore enact a “Universal Charitable Deduction” available to all taxpayers.
• Regardless of income level, all American taxpayers should receive an incentive to give to charity.
• This tax incentive should not be tied to itemizing deductions – it should be available broadly in order to:
o Increase giving, in terms of both dollars and donors;
o Increase fairness by treating all taxpayers’ contributions equally; and
o Provide modest tax relief to middle- and lower-income taxpayers.
• And, it would not only offset loses to charitable giving caused by tax reform, it would actually increase giving! According to the Indiana University study, if provisions in the unified framework were enacted into law but Congress chose to allow all taxpayers to take the charitable deduction, overall giving would increase by $1.1 billion to $4.7 billion.
Hill Day attendees left behind folders at each meeting with: CGP's Full Statement on Tax Reform, a Fact Sheet, CGP Summary and Council List, and the study by Indiana University. We are pleased with the energy and enthusiasm from our members around CGP's first ever Hill Day and will continue to keep you updated on our efforts in Washington.
Members at CGP Day on the Hill 2017
Colorado: Tina Drum, Gordon Smith, Sheri Hudson, Dale Zschoche
Indiana: Alaina Leverenz, Darcy Weaver, Pam Davidson, Greg Baker, Arizona: Beth Salazar
Illinois: Kathy Kielar, Tom Neises, Andrew Hibel, Laura Sowatsky
New York: Alexandra Pia Brovey, Wendy Irving
Massachusetts: Katherine McKay, Claudine Donikian, Jon Abrams
|Texas: Randy Dixon, Kent Weimer, Marion Armstrong, Cathy Sheffield, Glenn Pittsford, Eva Toia|