News and analysis
July 02, 2015

Nonprofit Coalition to Press Presidential Contenders to Protect Charitable Deduction

Over the next 16 months, presidential candidates will be grilled on global warming, international trade, and countless other topics. A group of nonprofits would also like to keep an issue dear to them on the contenders’ minds: the charitable tax deduction.

A coalition of 44 nonprofit groups says it will press every major presidential candidate to support keeping the charitable deduction intact.

The group, called the Charitable Giving Coalition, called the deduction unique among tax incentives in that it "promotes a selfless act and encourages taxpayers to donate more to charities than they would otherwise give." The coalition said it would send letters to all declared candidates, regardless of party affiliation, tracked in what it calls "major" polls, urging them to pledge their support.

"Limiting the value of the charitable deduction would inhibit the ability of charities to serve individuals and communities across the country," reads the letter, which was signed by a broad group of nonprofits, including Girl Scouts of the USA, Jewish Federations of North America, and United Way Worldwide

The charitable deduction has not attracted praise from all quarters. Other groups, including the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an organization that advocates for reducing federal deficits, have argued that the deduction costs the U.S. Treasury about $570 billion over 10 years in lost revenue. They argue that the incentive disproportionately benefits wealthier taxpayers who get a bigger deduction based on their higher tax rates and who are more likely to itemize their tax returns (a requirement for claiming the deduction).

President Obama has regularly suggested limiting the deduction in his annual budget proposal.

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