Bill Introduced to Expand Charitable Giving Deductions
Representative Mark Walker (R-NC), has introduced the Universal Charitable Giving Act of 2017 (H.R. 3988) in the House, which would allow taxpayers who do not itemize their tax returns to write off a portion of their charitable contributions. This could help provide incentives for individuals to increase their charitable giving. However, if passed, this provision would likely be a part of President Trump’s larger tax reform package – a package that has raised concerns from numerous charitable organizations.
Currently, taxpayers who do not itemize their returns are not eligible for incentives tied to donations made to qualified charitable organizations, including non-profit community mental health and addiction treatment organizations. Rep. Walker’s bill would allow these individuals to write off up to one-third of the amount of the deduction that is currently available for taxpayers who do itemize their returns. Taken alone, this bill could encourage more charitable giving by providing tax incentives to more individuals.
Washington insiders anticipate that this measure could be rolled into President Trump’s tax reform plan. The White House’s plan calls for an increase to the standard deduction, or the dollar amount that lowers the income on which Americans are taxed, as well as a cap on the amount of charitable giving that individuals can write off. According to analysis by the Charitable Giving Coalition (CGC), the current tax reform proposal would take charitable giving incentives away from 30 million taxpayers who itemized in 2016. This reduction in tax incentives could greatly reduce individuals’ motivations to donate, resulting in a big hit to the bottom line for many health care organizations that rely on private dollars.