It’s fall – a time for multi-colored leaves, pumpkin spice (if you’re into that kind of thing), cooler weather, and fall carnivals. Granted, it always feels a little like a carnival here in Washington, DC with plenty of unique characters and games that seemed to be tipped just a little more in the favor of the carnival, resulting in few winners.
This fall, the biggest game in town is one that could impact the very foundation of how your organization pursues its mission and serves those in your communities: tax reform.
Much like trying to knock over weighted milk bottles with a hollowed-out tennis ball, the tax plan that emerged from the Administration and Congressional leaders today could ultimately “rig” the tax code so that the impact of the charitable deduction is severely limited.
By lowering the top rate and increasing the standard deduction so that only 5 percent all taxpayers itemize, we would be faced with a scenario where only a small number of wealthy households will be incentivized to give to charity. This would mean charities will lose over $13 billion in gifts needed to support everything from disaster response to keeping the lights on – and that’s likely a conservative estimate of the real impact.
Fortunately, charities do not have to settle for a system in which a few households win and our missions lose. We are asking for a new, fairer approach to giving in tax reform through a universal charitable deduction. The universal deduction would incentivize everyone, regardless of income, to give more to charity.
This idea changes charitable giving from a slanted game of chance to one where everyone has an opportunity to win. At such a critical time, we need to make it as easy as possible to encourage all Americans to participate, which results in the biggest victory in service of our communities.
Sounds great, right? Here’s the problem. Policymakers crafting the final tax plan have heard from our community over the past year on the importance of protecting giving and expanding the deduction, but we haven’t been loud enough – and we need your voice.
Tell Congress that tax reform should include a universal charitable deduction makes everyone a winner.