Congress Passes Bill to Make Charitable Extenders Permanent

Congress Passes Bill to Make Charitable Extenders Permanent

Congress has passed a bill that makes the IRA charitable rollover and two other charitable giving incentives permanent.

The Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (233 pages, PDF), which passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, 318-109, makes permanent charitable deductions for donations made directly from individual retirement accounts and provides enhanced deductions for donations of food to foodbanks and donations of land for conservation purposes. The Senate, which rejected similar legislation in the spring, approved the provisions on Friday as part of a combined omnibus spending and tax extenders package.

The charitable incentives are among the more than fifty temporary provisions, known as "tax extenders," that have been renewed by Congress on an annual basis. While the House passed a bill in February to make the provisions permanent, the Senate has preferred to renew them annually; in July, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation to reinstate them for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. In September, a coalition of more than two thousand nonprofit organizations, associations, for-profit businesses, and other organizations sent a letter (20 pages, PDF) to members of Congress urging them to make the extenders permanent.

"This is a major victory for philanthropy and charities, the result of a dynamic and collaborative effort across the field," said Council on Foundations president and CEO Vikki Spruill following the House vote. "Making these vital charitable provisions permanent law ends years of uncertainty for donors and foundations alike. We are confident that permanence will open new opportunities for giving.

"[At the same time,]we are disappointed that the bill did not simplify the private foundation excise tax or expand the IRA charitable rollover to donor-advised funds," said Spruill. "We have made significant headway with Congress pushing these policies forward and will continue to actively keep these issues in front of Congress for future tax reform."

"Senate Makes IRA Rollover Permanent." Council on Foundations Press Release 12/18/2015. "The House Passes Permanent Charitable Extenders." Council on Foundations Press Release 12/17/2015.