Universal Deduction Bill Introduced in House

Are we getting through?

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) has introduced legislation to extend the charitable deduction to individuals and couples who do not itemize their tax returns.

The Universal Charitable Giving Act of 2017 (H.R. 3988) allows non-itemizers to claim the charitable deduction, but deduction-eligible contributions from those taxpayers would be capped at a third of the standard deduction (roughly $2,000 for individuals/$4000 for couples under current law).

Rep. Walker, who is sharing the plan with Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said that his proposal allows “everybody an opportunity” to use the charitable deduction and would “benefit the middle income community.” The tax reform blueprint unveiled by Republican leaders in late September would retain a charitable deduction for itemizers, but the number of itemizers would be sharply reduced to only 5 percent of all taxpayers due to other proposed modifications to the tax code.

In a statement released today, Independent Sector, which has been a leading voice on the universal deduction over the past year, welcomes the introduction of the legislation as a “tangible first step in unlocking greater charitable giving in America.” However, IS is concerned that the bill’s proposed cap will suppress giving and lead to a decline in investment and critical resources for our communities. The IS team will be working with the research community and peer organizations across the sector to better understand the impact of Rep. Walker’s bill on the charitable community.

The introduction of legislation is an important marker in the effort to establish a universal charitable deduction for all taxpayers, but the fight isn’t over. Our message is beginning to take hold with policymakers, but we need your help to build support for policies that will help charities advance the common good.

Take a moment to reach out to your members of Congress today and tell them to support a universal charitable deduction in tax reform.

Types: Blog, Policy Update
Global Topics: Congress, Public Policy
Policy Issues: Charitable Deduction, Charitable Giving, Tax & Fiscal Policy