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How Tax Reform May Impact Charities

As tax reform continues to be front and center on Capitol Hill, the American Red Cross and other  organizations have taken a closer look at how proposed legislation may impact charitable giving. Here are answers to common questions relevant to our supporters.

  1. Is the American Red Cross involved in the current tax reform debate?

Yes.  As Congress considers legislation that would reform our current tax structure, we are asking that the charitable tax deduction be preserved and expanded to all taxpayers, thereby affording all individuals and families this incentive that encourages charitable giving.

The current Senate and House tax bills preserve the charitable tax deduction, but they limit the number of people who can take advantage of this giving incentive.  By doubling the standard deduction, less taxpayers will be itemizing their deductions and, in turn, less taxpayers will be incentivized to donate.

  1. How would this affect the Red Cross and other charities?

Simply put, the tax bills, as currently drafted, will hurt us and, ultimately, hurt those we serve.  The American Red Cross depends on the generosity of the American public, not the Federal government, to help those in need.

Research conducted by Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy found that tax reform proposals that would increase the standard deduction and decrease the top marginal tax rate would decrease charitable giving by an estimated $13.1 billion.

  1. Does the Red Cross offer a solution?

Yes, indeed!  The Red Cross joins the charitable community in supporting a “universal” charitable tax deduction that allows all taxpayers the opportunity to take advantage of this vital giving incentive regardless of their income or whether they itemize.  This is a fair solution we believe Congress should seriously consider during the tax reform debate.

  1. What can I do to help?

Contact your Members of Congress.  As these tax bills are quickly moving through the Senate and the House of Representatives, the American Red Cross is encouraging those who are concerned about the consequences raising the standard deduction will have on charitable giving to write to their elected officials and urge them to support a “universal” charitable tax deduction.