Take Action on Charitable Tax Extenders (2015)

Take Action to restore charitable Giving Incentives

Listed below are a number of ways you, as constituents, can engage with your Senators to urge them to take immediate action on the America Gives More Act of 2015 (H.R. 644), legislation that simplifies taxes for foundations and permanently restores three expired giving incentives to support the critical work of nonprofit organizations across the country.

The giving incentives included in H.R. 644 promote:

  • donations of nutritious food to food banks;
  • donations of land for conservation; and
  • contributions from individual retirement accounts (IRA) directly to charitable nonprofits such as their local United Way or specific cause they support.

These three giving provisions expired for the fifth time in recent years on January 1, 2015, after multiple efforts to restore them proved unsuccessful last year (see History below). Lawmakers this year have expressed interest in addressing these giving provisions early on in the year rather than relying on short-term measures passed at the end of the year, before turning to comprehensive tax reform.

After a successful vote by more than two-thirds of the House of Representatives on February 12, attention now turns to the Senate to take swift action. Contact your Senators today to urge them to take up and pass the America Gives More Act, in order to provide certainty to nonprofits that deliver vital services to communities in your state.

  1. Send a letter. In 30 seconds or less, you can send a letter directly to your Senator, using draft language we have created especially for this issue. Enter your state here to begin.

  2. Engage on social media. Urge the leaders of the powerful Senate tax-writing committee, as well as Senate leadership and your own Senators, to take up and pass H.R. 644 (#HR644) and #protectgiving on Twitter and Facebook. Encourage your friends and colleagues to drive up traffic by "liking" or re-Tweeting your posts.

    Sample tweet: "@SenOrrinHatch I stand w/ @IndSector & support permanent charitable tax extenders http://ow.ly/Ete2q Pass extenders now! #protectgiving


  3. Call the Senate. Look up the contact information for your Senators and leave a message or ask to speak with their staff to discuss the importance of permanent giving incentives in the tax code to your organization's work. Explain how the provisions in H.R. 644 make possible the vital work carried out by nonprofits in their district or state. Here is a sample script.

  4. Submit an opinion piece to your local newspaper. Highlight the importance of charitable tax incentives to the work of nonprofits in your area by sending in an op-ed to your local newspaper. Feel free to borrow language from this sample op-ed written for this specific issue, and check out this piece written by a local foodbank president sharing her story.

  5. Short on time? Send us your stories! Send a quick note to our policy team about how these provisions facilitate the vital charitable work of your organization.

HISTORY

Following a markup in the Ways and Means Committee, on February 12, the full House passed the America Gives More Act of 2015 (H.R. 644). The legislation packages together four bills:

  • H.R. 644, to permanently extend and expand the charitable deduction for contributions of food inventory,
  • H.R. 637, to make permanent the rule allowing certain tax-free distributions from individual retirement accounts for charitable purposes,
  • H.R. 641, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2015, to make permanent the increased percentage limits and extended carry-forward period for qualified conservation contributions, and
  • H.R. 640, to modify the tax rate for excise tax on investment income of private foundations.

This package is similar to the America Gives More Act of 2014 (H.R. 4719), which passed on a bipartisan basis last July. As the end of the 113th Congress approached without Senate action on H.R. 4719, House lawmakers in December sought to employ a special expedited process to secure passage for another version of the bill, this time called the Supporting America's Charities Act (H.R. 5806).

While this bill fell eight votes short of the special two-thirds majority necessary for passage, the House and Senate ultimately adopted legislation to renew for the 2014 tax year only all of the 55 expired provisions in the broader tax extenders package, including the three charitable giving incentives. These provisions then lapsed in bulk once more on January 1, 2015.

BACKGROUND Resources

  • An open letter, also published in POLITICO on December 3, urging the president and leaders in Congress to make permanent charitable tax extenders in the spirit of #GivingTuesday
  • A letter signed by over 1,030 organizations In November that articulates the need for permanent reinstatement of the charitable tax extenders
  • A one-pager on the IRA Charitable Rollover provision
  • A profile of the community and economic impact of the nonprofit sector in your state
  • A recording of the Aug. 5 strategy session on charitable tax extenders
  • A webinar on how to conduct an effective meeting with elected officials (purchase required)
  • More information about these three charitable tax extenders.
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