02 August 2017

FOX Business Discusses Universal Charitable Deduction, Tax Reform with ACR

by Marques Chavez, Director of Communications, The Alliance for Charitable Reform

Leaders from the Alliance for Charitable Reform discussed the universal charitable deduction, tax reform and our recent meetings with lawmakers for an article published this week by FOX Business Network’s Adam Shapiro entitled “Tax code change could boost charitable giving and cut middle-class taxes.” Shapiro’s focus in the article was Congress considering a universal charitable deduction in tax reform, which is why he reached out to our Vice President for Public Policy Sean Parnell.

FOX Business has learned members of Congress are seriously considering a change to the tax code known as universal charitable deductions.  It could help fulfill one of President Donald Trump’s promises to offer the middle class tax relief. The idea has also been discussed with senior administration officials. Sean Parnell, Vice President for Public Policy at The Philanthropy Roundtable, says the proposed change could “…provide an additional incentive for people to give a bit more.”

Shapiro mentions the meetings charitable organizations conducted as part of ACR’s Champions for Charity event last month and shares a comment from House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) that reinforces the meetings’ impact. According to Shapiro, Chairman Brady said:

“We want to encourage Americans, who are incredibly generous already, to give more, to give earlier in life, and to continue to grow. So, we did have good discussions with [charitable organizations] about their ideas and how we can improve charitable giving and [the universal charitable deduction is] one of them. We’re giving it a very serious look.”

Shapiro also spoke with ACR Advisory Council member Robert Sharpe about the number of people who may stop itemizing their taxes under an increased standard deduction, which would decrease charitable giving. Sharpe also explained the federal revenue difference – he estimated it at a total of $59 billion a year – that would occur under a universal charitable deduction. However, he reiterated that protecting charitable giving and the nonprofit sector would outweigh the potential cost.

“I have no idea if that amount of money would kill a deal but it represents only a minuscule loss of revenue in exchange for safe guarding a vital segment of the economy that employs ten percent of the nation’s work force,” Sharpe said.

In addition to this article, Shapiro interviewed Chairman Brady just before our Champions for Charity meetings, where he asked the Chairman about a number of issues related to tax reform, including the impact an increased standard deduction could have on charitable giving.

As tax reform inches closer, we continue to see reports that lawmakers are considering a universal charitable deduction. We are thrilled to see that the provision is being considered and will continue to work with lawmakers and their staffs to ensure charitable giving is protected, and even expanded, in tax reform.