Thursday, September 25, 2014

Congress eyes charitable giving

Excerpted from "Protect giving: A chance for real bipartisanship," commentary by Vikki Spruill in The Hill, September 15, 2014 - Foundations and charities face a pivotal moment. In July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) with a bipartisan vote of 277 to 130. Now it needs to pass the Senate. It will give individuals and private foundations the certainty that allows for more charitable giving.

The America Gives More Act makes permanent three important provisions that have been part of the “extenders package” for a number of years. Though they are proven to increase giving and have broad bipartisan support, it’s become the norm for Congress to allow these provisions to expire, then retroactively reinstate them. This inconsistency from Congress leaves donors uncertain of how much they can contribute.

The bill addresses this uncertainty in three key areas:
  • Gifts from IRA distributions (referred to as the “IRA charitable rollover”) where generous donors are directing their mandatory distributions directly to charity.
  • Gifts of property, specifically conservation easements, which are complicated transactions that can take more than a year to plan and execute.
  • Gifts of food inventory, which are often perishable and so demand quick action.
The strong bipartisan alignment around this bill is rare these days in Washington. The vote in the House showed that both Democrats and Republicans understand the importance of supporting charitable giving. Still, this uncommon consensus is at risk of being undermined by Washington gridlock.


Jonathan ImbodyCMA VP for Government Relations Jonathan Imbody: “In dozens of visits focused on this topic with Congressional leaders and their staff, I have been impressed with a bipartisan, general commitment to charitable giving. Still, the temptation for our deficit-spending Government to tap into new revenue sources is great, and the potential remains for Congress to unwittingly trim giving by fiddling with charity incentives and protections in the tax code.

“Why would Congress take steps that would make fewer Americans able to deduct charitable gifts, or subject givers to stingier limits on how much they give? Don't lawmakers realize that charities provide billions in social services—such as through faith-based medical and dental clinics that care for needy patients—that Government would otherwise have to fund?

“Government always seeks more money, due to the sheer pull of the power derived from money. Many politicians also redistribute our tax dollars to their constituents and pet projects as a means of retaining political power. Years of undisciplined spending now threaten Government's power and politicians' futures, so they are turning to previously sacred sources such as charity for more tax revenue.

“When I visit Members of Congress to persuade them to preserve our charitable gift deductions, I make the following simple points:
  1. Government should not tax individuals for giving their money away to help others.
  2. Charities can provide services much more efficiently and effectively than Government bureaucracies and save billions that the Government would otherwise have to fund.
  3. Any cuts to charitable giving will ultimately penalize the needy individuals served by charities.”
Use our Freedom2Care easy form to let your legislators know that Government should not tax us for money we give away to help others, and that you want your charitable gifts to remain tax-deductible.

Fact sheet on charitable giving
Itemized Deductions State-by-State - Pew Charitable Trusts

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan,
    Thanks for your work in these areas. I pray that the body of Christ, i.e. the Church, will stand for the poor and oppressed who are in danger of losing provision in this political silly business.
    Eric Potter MD
    Sanctuary Medical Care and Consulting
    Wholistic Healthcare for the Glory of God, Col 3:23