Coalition Urges Congress to Make Tax Extenders Permanent

A coalition of more than two thousand nonprofit organizations, associations, for-profit businesses, and other organizations has sent a letter (20 pages, PDF) to members of Congress urging them to make permanent a set of charitable tax provisions that expire annually.

"The undersigned...urge Congress to act immediately on a seamless, multiyear or permanent extension of the expired and expiring tax provisions, including appropriate enhancements," the letter, which is dated September 10 and is signed by, among others, the Cleveland Foundation, the Council of Michigan Foundations, Feeding America, Independent Sector, and the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust, states. "These tax provisions are critically important to U.S. jobs and the broader economy."

The more than fifty temporary provisions, known as "tax extenders," include measures designed to encourage food donations to foodbanks, land donations for conservation, and charitable gifts from individual retirement accounts. Another provision would simplify the excise tax on private foundations to 1 percent on net investment income. While the House of Representatives passed a bill in February to make the extenders permanent, the Senate has preferred to renew the provisions annually; in July, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to reinstate them for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. In 2014, Congress didn't pass the extenders until mid-December — which, according to many nonprofit leaders, created a fair amount of donor uncertainty.

"Failure to extend these provisions is a tax increase,"  the coalition's letter states. "It will inject instability and uncertainty into the economy and weaken confidence in the employment marketplace. Acting promptly on this matter will provide important predictability necessary for economic growth."