Advocacy and Communications Toolkit: Expanding the Charitable Deduction

With Congress debating comprehensive tax reform this year, we have a unique opportunity to strengthen and expand the charitable deduction to incentivize more Americans to give even more in support of their communities.

The tools below are designed to help you connect directly with policymakers and their staff to make the case for extending the charitable deduction to 100% of taxpayers.

Sample Talking Points

Use these talking points to help create written and oral arguments for the expansion of the charitable deduction.

For 100 years, our tax code has been a powerful tool to encourage and empower Americans to support their communities through charitable giving.

  • Tax reform provides a unique opportunity to explore policies that could increase charitable investment in local communities.
  • The charitable deduction has been included in current tax reform proposals, but efforts to increase the standard deduction and lower rates have the unintended consequences of limiting the effect of the charitable deduction and reducing giving.

A recent study by Independent Sector and Indiana University indicates that current tax reform proposals would reduce charitable giving.

  • The study finds that doubling the standard deduction and reducing the top rate to 35% could reduce charitable giving by up to $13 billion per year.
  • $13 billion is roughly equivalent to the charitable donations of the six largest charities in the United States: Feeding America, TaskForce for Global Health, Salvation Army, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, United Way Worldwide, and YMCA of the USA.

Solution: Expand the charitable deduction to all taxpayers, including people who do not itemize on their taxes and take the standard deduction.

  • Expanding the charitable deduction to all taxpayers meets key goals of tax reform by treating all taxpayers fairly and by providing a greater incentive for low and middle-income taxpayers.
  • The Independent Sector/Indiana University study also found that when those proposals incorporated an expanded charitable deduction for all taxpayers, including people who do not currently itemize on their taxes, charitable giving would actually increase by an estimated $4.8 billion.
  • The amount of charitable giving generated by an expanded deduction is equivalent to investing in all of the community services provided by the top 6 charities plus Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Catholic Charities USA, Goodwill Industries International, Habitat for Humanity International, and World Vision.

On the 100th anniversary of the charitable deduction, Congress and the Administration should seize this opportunity to enact policies that expand the charitable deduction to 100 percent of American taxpayers.

Sample Email

Use the language below to send emails to your Members of Congress. Use a simple tool on Giving100.org.

For 100 years, our tax code has been a powerful tool to encourage and empower Americans to support their communities through charitable giving. Regardless of their income level, taxpayers who receive a deduction for their contributions give more to charities than those that do not receive a deduction.

Tax reform provides a unique opportunity to explore policies that could increase charitable investment in local communities. A universal deduction, or non-itemizer deduction, is one way to enhance giving through a fair, simplified structure that provides an incentive for all taxpayers, including low- and middle-income households.

The nonprofit sector is encouraged that policymakers say protecting the charitable deduction is a priority in tax reform. However, proposals to increase the standard deduction and lower rates unintentionally limit the value of this critical incentive.

A recent study by Indiana University indicates that doubling the standard deduction and lowering the top rate to 35 percent could reduce charitable giving up to $13 billion per year. That is the equivalent of funding for critical programs offered by the six largest charities in the United States.

However, the study further concludes that expanding the charitable deduction would more than make up for the loss of giving from the proposals and potentially increase charitable giving by up to $4.8 billion per year.

I stand with the 75 percent of American voters who support expanding the charitable deduction.  On the 100th anniversary of the charitable deduction, I urge you to seize this opportunity to enact policies that extend the charitable deduction to 100 percent of American taxpayers.

Sample Phone Script

To call your Member of Congress, call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. You may also look up their direct lines using the Senate list or the House list.

I am __________, a constituent who works/lives in your district and a member of the nonprofit community (Identify your organization).

Charitable giving is deeply important to our work and the people we serve, and tax reform provides an opportunity to explore policies that could increase charitable investment in my community.

An expanded charitable deduction, or non-itemizer deduction, is one way to enhance giving through a fair, simplified structure that provides an incentive for all taxpayers, including low- and middle-income households.

A recent study by Independent Sector and Indiana University concludes that adding a non-itemizer deduction would help protect charitable giving from any unintended consequences of tax reform.

On the 100th anniversary of the charitable deduction, I urge you to seize this opportunity to enact policies that extend the charitable deduction to 100 percent of American taxpayers.

Thank you.

Sample Social Media Posts

Use these sample social media posts to let your Members of Congress know that you support expanding the charitable deduction. Please use #giving100 in all your posts. You can look up their profiles using this Twitter list or Facebook’s Town Hall feature.

Twitter:

Tax reform plans could reduce charitable giving by $13B. Tell Congress to expand charitable deduction http://ow.ly/RUBb30bP22F #giving100

New research finds expanding charitable deduction puts more $ into communities. http://ow.ly/RUBb30bP22F #giving100

Make charitable giving a priority in tax reform. Expand charitable deduction to all taxpayers! http://ow.ly/RUBb30bP22F #giving100

Let’s make sure 100% of taxpayers give more to their communities through expanded charitable deduction. http://ow.ly/RUBb30bP22F #giving100

Facebook/LinkedIn:

New research finds that current tax reform proposals by Republican lawmakers and the Administration would decrease charitable giving by an estimated $13.1 billion. But expanding charitable deduction would more than offset that loss and actually increase giving by $4.8 billion. Tell Congress to expand the charitable deduction to 100% of all taxpayers. http://independentsector.org/deduction #giving100

Celebrate the charitable deduction turning 100 by calling on Congress to support expanding the deduction to 100% of taxpayers. http://independentsector.org/deduction #giving100

New research from Independent Sector and Indiana University finds that expanding the charitable deduction to all taxpayers puts more money into communities. Learn how you can help encourage giving to improve communities. http://independentsector.org/deduction #giving100

 

 

Global Topics: Administration, Congress, Public Policy
Policy Issues: Charitable Deduction, Charitable Giving, Tax & Fiscal Policy, Tax Reform
Resource Types: Toolkit