November 16, 2017 (123 days ago)
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Support for a Universal Deduction for Charitable Giving and to Maintain the Johnson Amendment

Changes in tax policies have a direct and indirect influence on household charitable donations. From the perspective of a community foundation, the proposed tax-law changes are threatening to the triple bottom lines we most closely monitor:
  • The quality of life for the most vulnerable people in Metro Denver.
  • The support for charitable giving and growing the culture of philanthropy.
  • The financial stability and mission achievement of nonprofit organizations.
With those bottom lines in mind, The Denver Foundation is taking positions on the following provisions of the proposed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act H.R. 1. We ask you to contact your Members of Congress and ask them to speak out for philanthropy.

Universal Deduction

The Foundation strongly supports a universal deduction for charitable giving. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act proposes doubling the standard deduction. Experts predict that raising the standard deduction will eliminate the incentive for the charitable tax deduction for 95% of taxpayers. To mitigate unintended negative consequences of tax reform on charitable giving in Metro Denver, we encourage you to call on Congress to enact a universal charitable deduction, making the charitable deduction available to all taxpayers, whether or not they itemize.
Senator James Lankford's Universal Charitable Giving Act (S.2123) allows 100 percent of taxpayers to deduct their charitable contributions. Non-itemizers can deduct contributions up to 1/3 of the standard deduction.
A universal "above-the-line" charitable deduction available to all Americans—regardless of income—is a more equitable approach to incentivize philanthropy. Universal access to a charitable tax deduction will benefit all givers, whether they be the wealthiest of donors or everyday people giving back in their local communities.

Johnson Amendment

The Foundation strongly opposes changes to the Johnson Amendment. It is in place to protect the nonprofit sector from political influence. In a highly politicized nation, nonprofits and houses of worship are safe spaces for people to come together to build stronger communities. An independent nonprofit sector protects organizations—and those who are served—from the influence of campaign politics and partisanship. More than 5,500 nonprofits across the nation have signed a community letter in support of nonpartisanship.

Take Action Today

Our friends at Colorado Nonprofit Association have provided many tools to take action in support of philanthropy, including talking points, sample scripts, and contact information. Learnmore about asking your Members of Congress to support a universal deduction and remove provisions weakening the Johnson Amendment on their Policy Update page.

Stay Connected

Please visit our website for more information about the Foundation's policy activities and to sign up for a special e-newsletter focused on policy and advocacy.
Questions? Please email the Foundation's Vice President of Community Impact.
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