It's time to start caring about tax reform and the charitable deduction. Here's why:
1. Tax Reform Will Happen. Political heavyweights have been talking about tax reform for most of a decade, and its been tempting to dismiss this talk with "It'll never happen". But here we are: Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and we must pay attention and make our voice heard. They've rolled out a plan and consideration is on this year's road map for the House and Senate. I've been told that we should expect to see this idea "die" several times; let's just say that it might die 8 deaths, but have 9 lives.
2. Tax Reform Will Affect Us. Do your donors itemize their donations? Of course they do. 80% of charitable giving comes from itemizers. But here is the problem: right now, over 30% of us are able to itemize our taxes, but under current proposals considered by Congress,only 5% of us will do so. This is due to limitations on the deductions as well as a doubling (sometimes tripling) of the standard deduction.
3. We Can Have An Impact. Accord is already engaging on this issue with policymakers in a community called the "Faith and Giving Coalition." We've met with Members and staff on this issue. We are now told that members of Congress are hearing our concern about freezing out itemizers, and are looking for a fiscally sound plan. Here's a solution we like: move charitable giving from a deduction used by itemizers "above the line" reducing any taxpayer's adjusted gross income. In simple terms, this would give the benefit to everyone.
Expect to hear more on this issue as 2017 rolls on. There is a chance--more than a small chance--that we will see President Trump sign tax reform into law in front of a Christmas tree.