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Congress passes CR, adjourns until November (19 September 2014)
The Senate yesterday passed stopgap legislation (H.J.Res. 124) to fund the government until December 11, extending the Internet tax moratorium through that date, and reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank charter through June 30, 2015. The measure, which the House approved on Wednesday, also includes language authorizing limited U.S. aid for Syrian rebels and provides supplemental funds to combat the Ebola epidemic. While the $1.012 trillion funding levels do not expire officially until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, both chambers worked quickly to sign off on a clean continuing resolution (CR) that maintains those levels in order to return to their home districts for the final six weeks of campaigning before the midterm elections. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to bring his colleagues back to Washington for a post-election session on November 12 that prioritizes addressing the package of tax provisions that expired at the start of this year, which includes three charitable giving incentives.

House passes package of charitable provisions
(17 July 2014)
Today, the House of Representatives passed by 277-130 the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719), a package of five charitable provisions that includes making permanent three expired tax extenders: the IRA charitable rollover, the enhanced deduction for donating land conservation easements, and the enhanced deduction for donating food inventory. Also in the package is a measure to extend through April 15 the deadline for claiming charitable donations on the previous year's tax filing and a measure to simplify to 1 percent the excise tax rate for private foundations' investment income. The Ways and Means Committee approved all five provisions at a markup on May 29. The floor vote came the same week that more than 850 organizations joined Independent Sector in a letter to House lawmakers urging them to support permanent reinstatement of the charitable extenders. The letter ran as a public ad in Roll Call July 16. Learn more

IRS: New 501(c)(4) political activity rules forthcoming, hearing delayed
(23 May 2014)
The IRS released a statement yesterday confirming the agency will re-issue a proposal to regulate the political activity of 501(c)(4) social welfare groups, and that a public hearing will occur only after the second draft of rules goes public. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen made comments last month reflecting the IRS decision to scrap the November proposal that received more than 169,000 comments, but had said there would be a hearing on this first version ahead of any new round of guidelines. An IRS official stressed the agency will be incorporating the comments into the forthcoming draft.

CFC rules advance despite charity concerns
(16 April 2014)
The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued a final rule April 11 that would significantly alter the workplace giving program for federal employees around the country without making many changes based on the concerns expressed by the charitable community during a June 2013 public comment period. Under the new regulations, administration of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) program will transfer from scores of local committees to a handful of centralized offices, which many in the charitable community contend will result in decreased donations due to a lack of personal connection for donors. Other changes include the creation of a nonrefundable application fee for participating charities and the elimination of cash donations. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta wrote in a blog post that the changes will maximize the percent of each dollar going directly to charity, and that OPM remains “fully committed” to working with stakeholders during the implementation process. Learn more
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