A new bill in Congress would allow all American taxpayers to take a charitable deduction regardless of whether they itemize their deductions, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports.
The "above-the-line" or "universal" deduction, which would not include a cap, was included in a bill, the Charitable Giving Tax Deduction Act, introduced in the House last week by Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Henry Cuellar (D-TX). Although the idea of an above-the-line deduction has been around for years, the version that was initially included in the 2017 tax bill included a cap of $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for couples. At the time, nonprofit leaders expressed concerns that couples taking the standard deduction would give more than $8,000, and the provision was not included in the bill that passed the House.
According to Steve Taylor, senior vice president and counsel for public policy at United Way Worldwide, the new bill is just what nonprofits were looking for, but its passage, despite bipartisan support, is uncertain. "It is going to take a huge push and big effort by the sector to get this legislation to move," Taylor told the Chronicle. "Sometimes it takes a year or two to get legislation enacted. The number one most important thing that local charities can do is ask their representative to sign on as a co-sponsor of the bill."