Leadership 18 CEOs Speak Out In Support of Expanding the Charitable Tax Deduction

May 18, 2017   //   News  //  No Comments


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Contact: Jennifer Devlin, 703-876-1714, jennifer.devlin@cox.net


Leadership 18 CEOs Speak Out In Support of Expanding the Charitable Tax Deduction

New research finds expanding the charitable deduction to 100 percent of taxpayers would result in an estimated $4.8 billion increase in donations to charitable organizations

(WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017) – Leadership 18, a coalition of some of the nation’s largest and most influential human service non-profits, announced today its support for efforts to expand the charitable tax deduction to all taxpayers, not just those who itemize. The effort was announced in response to new research commissioned by Independent Sector with funding from Leadership 18. Conducted by the Indiana University (IU) Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, the study shows that current tax reform proposals by Republican lawmakers and the Administration would decrease charitable giving by an estimated $13.1 billion.

“On the face of it, the tax reform blueprint from the Administration and Republican lawmakers appears to preserve the charitable tax deduction, which is good news,” noted Susan Dreyfus, chairman of Leadership 18 and president and CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.  “However, by doubling the standard deduction, fewer households will opt to itemize their taxes, thereby having the unintended consequence of reducing the incentive for charitable giving, according to this new research. Fortunately, this study also provides data that indicates that a simple fix that would not just preserve charitable giving but in fact encourage more charitable giving in our country. By making charitable giving a universal deduction available to all, including non-itemizers, the incentive to give will be preserved.”

“America is recognized around the world for our charitable spirit and ability to come together as a nation in times of need to solve social problems,” commented Brian Gallagher, United Way Worldwide president and CEO and standing vice chair of Leadership 18. “Americans will never stop giving, but we know that tax incentives are important to how much they give. And for the human service organizations that Leadership 18 represents, charitable giving represents a majority of our funding – funding which enables us to fill the gaps in social services for vulnerable families.”

The study found that when those proposals incorporated an expanded charitable deduction for all taxpayers, including people who do not currently itemize on their taxes, charitable giving actually increased by an estimated $4.8 billion.

Research has consistently shown that people do give more when they are incentivized to do so through the tax code. In 2015, Americans gave nearly $265 billion to charitable organizations, a record amount.

A 2017 poll conducted by Independent Sector found that 85 percent of American voters support protecting the charitable tax deduction and 75 percent support expanding the charitable deduction to all taxpayers.

“We took the position last year that expanding the charitable deduction to 100 percent of taxpayers would encourage all Americans to give more and ensure that more dollars were being put back into communities for local, effective solutions,” said Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector. “We are encouraged that the research shows that expanding the deduction has the potential to more than offset the estimated loss in charitable dollars resulting from current reform proposals. Those charitable dollars improve lives and the natural world for all Americans.”

“When talking about changes in tax policy, it is important that the debate is informed by research. This study provides important information about the expected effects of the proposed tax policy changes and the extension of the charitable deduction to non-itemizers.” said Patrick M. Rooney, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.


About Leadership 18

Collectively, the members of Leadership 18 serve 87 million people with more than 5.6 million staff and volunteers. All of our member organizations share a specific mission to improve human development through deep community relationships. Leadership 18 members include the following: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Catholic Charities USA, City Year, Feeding America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Incorporated, Goodwill Industries International, Inc., Habitat for Humanity, The Jewish Federations of North America, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Council on Aging, The Salvation Army, United Way Worldwide, Volunteers of America, YMCA of the USA, and YWCA USA.

About Independent Sector
Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse set of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations to advance the common good. Learn more at independentsector.org.