15 May 2018

Bipartisan Legislation Creating Universal Charitable Deduction Introduced

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives that will implement a universal charitable deduction. The Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act, cosponsored by Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), was introduced May 11 and will allow all Americans to claim a charitable deduction regardless of itemizer status.

“Charitable organizations, including churches, synagogues, and other religiously-based entities, are the life-blood of services to those in need in our society, and I am committed to a tax policy that amplifies their ability to serve our community,” said Rep. Smith in a press release. “Americans have been generous patrons of charitable causes, and we want to ensure that everyone has the support they need to continue their generosity to charitable and philanthropic causes.”

“It is always important to give back to the community,” added Rep. Cuellar. “This bipartisan bill not only encourages us to help our fellow neighbors, but it also makes sure that taxpayers can receive their due deduction for charitable giving if they choose not to itemize. I am glad to support this legislation that will encourage charitable actions.”

With a steady decline in the number of Americans giving to charity since the Great Recession, and concerns over the impact of tax reform on charitable giving, the Alliance for Charitable Reform praised the introduction of the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act.

“While total giving remains robust, the number of American households who give to charity has declined every year for the last decade. The Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act is a bipartisan solution to this alarming trend and will bolster America’s vibrant and independent civil society. We applaud Reps. Smith and Cuellar for introducing this legislation and for acknowledging that charitable gifts from all Americans should be recognized regardless of income,” said Sandra Swirski, executive director of ACR.

The Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act is not the only legislation in Congress expanding the charitable deduction to all Americans. The Universal Charitable Giving Act of 2017, introduced last year by Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), would also implement a universal charitable deduction.