Act Now to Protect the Charitable Giving Incentive
The nonprofit charitable incentive is under threat of elimination as the President and Congress attempt to grapple with the looming “fiscal cliff.” The Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and Associated Grant Makers has sent the following letter to the twelve member Massachusetts Congressional delegation, asking them to make clear their support of the charitable giving incentive and oppose any proposal that would reduce or cap the tax value of charitable contributions.
We hope that you will join us this week in doing two simple things to help make sure that the voice of the nonprofit sector is heard loud and clear:
1) Phone, email and write your elected officials. Contact your senators and congressional representatives to tell them about the work you do, the role that charitable contributions play in making that work possible and urge them to protect the charitable giving incentive. Senator John Kerry holds a senior position on the Finance Committee, including the Taxation Subcommittee, so it is especially important that he hear from you.
2) Communicate the importance of this issue to your board, staff, peers and stakeholders and encourage them to do these three simple things as well.
Thank you for joining us in fighting to protect this important incentive for charitable giving.
Reports indicate that Congress is considering a cap on itemized deductions – including donations to charitable nonprofits – as part of a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. According to the National Council of Nonprofits, “such a cap would eliminate any tax incentive for donations to charities. The big fixed-cost deductions, such as for mortgage interest (national average of $10,640 in 2010) and state/local taxes (national average of $11,593 in 2010), that combined total $22,233, would eat away the entire deduction at the levels being discussed, leaving no room for discretionary gifts to the work of the charities. Source: “Average Tax Deductions, State by State,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 18, 2012.”
A cap on deductions that would include charitable giving will have a significant, adverse impact on the work of charitable nonprofits in Massachusetts. According to the IRS, Massachusetts residents made $4.3 billion in itemized charitable contributions in 2010. 60% of those contributions were made by individuals with incomes greater than $200,000. A national study, released last month by Bank of America, asked wealthy philanthropists (those whose incomes also were $200,000 or more and who held more than $1 million in assets) whether their giving habits would change if the charitable giving deduction were eliminated. Nearly half (49%) indicated that they would decrease their giving, and 20% indicated that their contributions would “dramatically decrease.”
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