Donation spike foreshadows impact charitable deduction limit could have

Posted on: December 7, 2012

In Friday’s (12/7) Wall Street Journal, Laura Saunders and Hannah Karp write, “Tax uncertainty in Washington is setting off a mad scramble among wealthy taxpayers and charities to maximize donations before the end of the year. Their worry: The tax deduction for charitable giving, a fixture of the tax code for nearly a century, is coming under pressure as part of a broader fiscal agreement now being hammered out on Capitol Hill. The rush shows the extent to which wrangling in Washington over deficit reduction already is affecting the way taxpayers are spending their money. … The deduction, which has been part of the tax code since 1917, allows taxpayers to reduce their taxable income by giving money or other assets to certain tax-exempt groups, including churches, schools and charities. … On Wednesday, more than 250 nonprofit-group leaders met with members of Congress to urge them to protect the deduction. Diana Aviv, president of Independent Sector, an association of nonprofits, said one plan floated by the White House, which would shrink the percentage of donations higher-income taxpayers could deduct from their taxes, could reduce charitable giving by $1.7 billion to $7 billion a year. Another plan, to cap all tax deductions at a specific dollar amount, could hurt giving even more, she said.”

Posted December 7, 2012