Tax Reform--Its Impact On Us

I want to pass along information from Brian Walsh, executive director of the Faith & Giving Coalition, of which Accord Network is a part. This is of great importance to our ministries.

Status
With the talk of chaos in DC, its easy to lose sight of the fact that White House and Congress are in the hands of the same party, and ideas and legislation are moving forward.  The Administration touts that their tax reform plan won't touch the charitable deduction.  This is true, but only technically.  When it comes to the current proposal for tax reform, I want us to keep one fact in mind--under current law, almost 1/3 of Americans itemize their taxes, but under the current plan before Congress, an estimated 28 million Americans would no longer benefit from the charitable deduction.  This is due to a proposed doubling of the standard deduction, as well as a reduction in the top tax rate.

An Answered Question
I've heard a fair amount of questioning whether a new policy would actually affect the bottom line of religious organizations.  Now we have a newly-minted study conducted by two respected organizations--Independent Sector (IS) and researchers at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  Their findings espouse that the Trump and House GOP tax reform plans would reduce charitable giving--by an estimated $13 billion.  What's more, the research shows that faith-based organizations and churches are harder hit than other organizations.  

Our Position
The Faith and Giving Coalition--and Accord Network--favor moving the charitable deduction "above the line" on the tax form, thereby making the deduction available to every taxpayer.  The study shows that this "universal deduction" would actually increase giving across the board.

Action
We will continue to watch this issue closely and advocate on your behalf.  And you might want to contact your Senators and Representative--especially if they are on the House Ways and Means Committee or the Senate Finance Committee.