Obama Aims to Curtail or Eliminate Charitable Deduction

Monday, 28 Mar 2011 11:27 AM

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President Barack Obama and members of Congress are looking to curtail or eliminate the tax deduction for charitable giving. This is the third time in three years that the issue has come up in Congress, and nonprofits fear that the deficit-cutting mood might make it successful this time around, The Hill reported.

The president has proposed reducing the amount the wealthy could deduct from their taxes from 35 percent to 28 percent. A bipartisan group of senators also wants to use the report from the president’s fiscal commission as a basis for debt reduction costs. That report called for imposing a 12 percent credit for all taxpayers for charitable giving, The Hill reported.

“I don’t want people to be scared as we talk about this. We’re at the beginning of the process now, and we want to involve interested parties as we move toward tax reform that brings businesses and individuals lower rates,” a House Republican official told the paper.

Nonetheless, nonprofits are worried and already have appealed to the president to reconsider, noting that charities are crucial in poor economic times. Others are trying to distance charitable giving from other tax breaks, The Hill said.

United Way Worldwide’s Steve Taylor contends that the charitable deduction is different because it isn’t about economic gain. “This goes to the core of who we are as a nation. We have a long tradition of charitable giving, of taking care of our own groups, and this deduction is an embodiment of that spirit,” he told The Hill.

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