Latest News / "Word on Washington"
IRS: Uncertain timeline for expanded political activity rules (12 May 2015)
An IRS official said recently that it remains too early to determine when the agency might produce a second draft of proposed guidance for tax-exempt political activity. After withdrawing last year a proposal from 2013 that pertained only to the political activity of 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, the IRS had planned to release a more comprehensive set of rules for all exempt groups during the first quarter of 2015, a deadline it did not meet. Learn more

IS coalition submits comments to Senate tax reform groups
(15 April 2015)
A number of IS members joined Independent Sector in submitting official comments yesterday to the Senate Finance Committee’s tax reform working groups, focused on respective changes to the taxation of individuals and the business operations of exempt organizations. These comments underscore Independent Sector’s public policy priorities to preserve and enhance tax incentives for charitable giving, as well as to promote the full breadth of community impact carried out by the charitable and philanthropic sector. The five newly-formed groups invited stakeholder input through April 15, as they each work towards making bipartisan policy recommendations to Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) by the end of May. Learn more

Charitable tax provisions pass House
(13 February 2015)
Yesterday, the House passed the America Gives More Act of 2015 (H.R. 644), with support from 39 Democrats and all but one Republican. The legislation would make permanent the IRA charitable rollover and the enhanced deductions for donations of food and land conservation easements, all of which expired on January 1, as well as simplify the excise tax rate on the investment income of private foundations. Repeating the objections expressed to two similar measures considered in 2014, opponents raised concerns with the $14.3 billion cost without budgetary offsets over ten years and the lack of consideration for other tax provisions that benefit working and middle-class families. While Senate tax-writers have begun a more deliberative process recently in the pursuit of a full tax-code rewrite, Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) acknowledged the need to address expired tax provisions known as extenders. Read the press statement | Learn more

Obama FY16 budget repeats cap on itemized deductions, restores land extender (3 February 2015)
President Obama released his non-binding $3.99 trillion budget proposal yesterday for Fiscal Year 2016, employing $1.8 trillion worth of deficit-reducing measures to replace automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. The plan repeats for the seventh year a 28-percent cap on certain itemized deductions, including the charitable deduction, for taxpayers in the top three tax brackets. Further, the base deduction limit on charitable contributions would remain at 50 percent for cash donations to public charities only, while the limit for all other types of donations would be simplified to 30 percent. The carry-forward period for contributions in excess of these limitations would increase from five to 15 years. Also repeated is the so-called Buffett Rule, which creates a 30-percent mandatory tax rate for individuals earning $1 million or more annually, excluding deductions for charitable contributions. The White House also renewed its proposal for the permanent extension of the enhanced deduction for certain land conservation easements that expired January 1. Learn more

Finance Committee assembles tax reform working groups (15 January 2015)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) have formally announced the formation of five tax reform working groups. In an effort to lay the groundwork for a future rewrite of the tax code, the groups will work with the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the tax areas under their purview by the end of May. Learn more about tax reform

Congress restores 2014 giving incentives; 113th Congress adjourns (17 December 2014)
The Senate signed off on legislation (H.R. 5771) yesterday evening that will reinstate retroactively dozens of expired tax provisions, including the IRA charitable rollover and the enhanced deductions for donating land conservation easements and food inventory. While taxpayers will be able to employ these provisions in the upcoming filing season for the 2014 tax year, the package will expire again in roughly two-weeks' time, on January 1, 2015. The House passed the measure on December 3. The vote brought to a close the 113th Congress, and the incoming class of lawmakers is expected to convene on January 6. Learn more
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