16 July 2018

Senators Lankford and Coons Request Data on Charitable Giving

A bipartisan set of senators have sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting data on charitable giving following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Sens. James Lankford (R-OK) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) have asked Secretary Mnuchin to provide “any data that is currently available on charitable deductions in tax year 2018 and projections for charitable giving in tax year 2018.”

The senators also voiced their concerns over the impact the TCJA could have on charitable giving. They cited data from the Joint Committee on Taxation as well as a recent report from the American Enterprise Institute, which estimates the changes to the code will reduce charitable giving by $17.2 billion in 2018.

“As you know, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nearly doubled the standard deduction for most filers, changing the incentive for many Americans to itemize and claim the charitable deduction. Removing this incentive could significantly reduce the amount of charitable giving in the United States. According to estimates from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will reduction charitable deductions by $95 billion in 2018. As a result, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, charitable giving is estimated to fall by approximately 5%. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI), another nonpartisan public policy think tank, released a similar report in which they estimate charitable giving will be reduced by almost 4%, or $17.2 billion based on a static model. According to AEI, the majority of this effect (83%) is a result of the increase in the standard deduction,” wrote Sens. Lankford and Coons in the letter.

Senator Lankford is a sponsor of the Universal Charitable Giving Act in the Senate, which would create a universal charitable deduction, or a charitable deduction that all taxpayers can take regardless of itemizer status. Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) is the sponsor of companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

In addition to currently available data, the senators have requested “quarterly data on the number of charitable deductions claimed and the average size donations given, and when available, a comparison of this data for the tax year 2018 to the previous ten years.”