Nonprofit Leaders Take to Capitol Hill to Protect Charitable Giving

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
For Immediate Release
For more information, please contact:
Perry Wasserman, 501(c)3 Strategies

Major tax reform bill now being drafted, set for release and action early next month

WASHINGTON, DC – More than 50 nonprofit leaders who specialize in charitable gift planning convened on Capitol Hill today urging Members of Congress and senior Congressional staff to protect the full value of the charitable deduction.  Lawmakers are presently drafting the largest rewrite of the federal tax code in 30 years, and legislation is expected to move through Congress in November. 

Event participants, who boarded a bus at 7:00 am from Baltimore where they were attending the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning earlier in the week, hailed from Hawaii to Massachusetts, Michigan to Texas, representing 17 states in all.  Collectively, the group met with 60 Congressional offices, including lawmakers on the two tax-writing committees, Congressional leadership, and supporters and detractors alike in order to press their case.

“Our timing today is pretty remarkable.  We’re meeting face-to-face with key Members of Congress literally as this major overhaul bill is being written,” said Michael Kenyon, President and CEO of National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP), who organized the event with his Board of Directors – led by a former Congressional staffer for Byron Dorgan, the retired Senator from North Dakota who long championed the IRA Charitable Rollover provision – wanting to capitalize on the group’s annual conference taking place so close to DC.  “We’ve had a number of encouraging meetings today, but the stakes remain very high,” said Kenyon.  “We’re going to ensure the voice of the nonprofit sector is heard in this debate, so that millions and millions of people who rely on the critical services and programs of our nation’s charities do not lose out.”

CGP’s Capitol Hill meetings come after Republican leaders released a “unified framework” for tax reform late last month.  Although the framework would retain the current-law charitable deduction, the vast majority of taxpayers – some 95 percent – would no longer itemize their deductions under the plan.  Those taxpayers would therefore be unable to take the charitable deduction, which helps generate billions of dollars for institutions that are the fabric of our civil society, supporting nearly every facet of life in our communities: education, research, health services, housing and shelter, job training, arts, culture, environmental protection, historic preservation, civil rights, civic engagement, and so much more.  During their meetings, participants shared with Congress the results of a study by Indiana University that found if the provisions in the framework were enacted into law, charitable giving could decrease by as much as $13 billion. 

Given these stark realities, meeting participants provided a solution to this potential loss of revenue, advocating that lawmakers enact a universal charitable deduction that would be available to all taxpayers.  “We firmly believe that regardless of income level, all American taxpayers should receive an incentive to give to charity,” argued CGP’s Kenyon.  “A tax incentive that is not tied to itemized deductions would increase giving to charities, increase fairness in the tax code, and provide some modest tax relief to middle- and lower-income taxpayers,” he said.  

Meeting participants highlighted that such an above-the-line deduction would not only offset loses to charitable giving caused by tax reform, it would actually increase overall giving.  According to that same Indiana University study, if provisions in the unified framework were enacted into law but Congress chose to allow all taxpayers to take the charitable deduction, giving would increase by as much as $4.7 billion.



About CGP

National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP), formerly the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning, is a 501(c)(3) public charity representing over 8,000 members with a network of nearly 100 local councils throughout the country.  CGP members include a diverse array of professionals involved in the charitable gift planning process, including fundraisers and administrators, estate planners, financial advisors, consultants, and allied professionals.  CGP is the leading organization in charitable gift planning and provides standards and guidelines for the profession, advocacy for a positive legal and tax environment for charitable giving, and education in all areas of charitable gift planning.  CGP also convenes the National Conference on Philanthropic Planning, the largest annual conference in the field, and the CGP Leadership Institute, which provides thought leadership to practitioners. 


See more pictures from CGP Day on the Hill 2017!

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