Could change in tax breaks hurt arts philanthropy?

Posted on: February 3, 2010

Monday (2/1) on the Los Angeles Times blog Culture Monster, Mike Boehm writes, “Nonprofit arts organizations that count on citizens in the upper income brackets to kick in big donations—and that would be just about all of them—may want to put their fundraising efforts on fast-forward this year. If President Obama has his way, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported Monday, tax deductions for charitable donations will be capped at 28% starting in 2011 for individuals earning more than $200,000 and joint-filers whose income tops $250,000. The current tax write-off for people in the top bracket is 35%. So an arts philanthropist donating a $1-million gift to a museum or performance group would get a $350,000 tax break this year, but only $280,000 in 2011. Besides potentially lessening the tax incentive for the wealthy to give, the president’s tax proposal would end tax cuts for wealthy Americans, restoring the top tax bracket to 39.5%, where it stood before 2001 cuts, slated to last 10 years, reduced the top bracket to 35%. That means the wealthiest donors would have a bit less disposable income to contribute to their favorite charities, arts or otherwise.”

Posted February 3, 2010