Latest News / "Word on Washington"
IS coalition submits comments to Senate tax reform groups (15 April 2015)
A number of IS members joined Independent Sector in submitting official comments yesterday to the Senate Finance Committee’s tax reform working groups, focused on respective changes to the taxation of individuals and the business operations of exempt organizations. These comments underscore Independent Sector’s public policy priorities to preserve and enhance tax incentives for charitable giving, as well as to promote the full breadth of community impact carried out by the charitable and philanthropic sector. The five newly-formed groups invited stakeholder input through April 15, as they each work towards making bipartisan policy recommendations to Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) by the end of May. Learn more

Charitable tax provisions pass House
(13 February 2015)
Yesterday, the House passed the America Gives More Act of 2015 (H.R. 644), with support from 39 Democrats and all but one Republican. The legislation would make permanent the IRA charitable rollover and the enhanced deductions for donations of food and land conservation easements, all of which expired on January 1, as well as simplify the excise tax rate on the investment income of private foundations. Repeating the objections expressed to two similar measures considered in 2014, opponents raised concerns with the $14.3 billion cost without budgetary offsets over ten years and the lack of consideration for other tax provisions that benefit working and middle-class families. While Senate tax-writers have begun a more deliberative process recently in the pursuit of a full tax-code rewrite, Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) acknowledged the need to address expired tax provisions known as extenders. Read the press statement | Learn more

House panel approves permanent giving incentives
(4 February 2015)
In a series of party-line votes yesterday, the House Ways and Means Committee signed off on bills that would extend permanently: the IRA charitable rollover (H.R. 637), the enhanced and expanded deduction for donating excess food inventory (H.R. 644), and the enhanced deduction for land conservation easements (H.R. 641). In addition to addressing temporary tax breaks, the committee passed a bill (H.R. 640) that would simplify to 1 percent the excise tax rate on private foundations’ investment income. The House plans to consider the bills on the floor next week as the America Gives More Act of 2015, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) signaled an interest in addressing permanent tax extenders legislation during his tenure, though stopped short of offering a timeline. Learn more

Obama FY16 budget repeats cap on itemized deductions, restores land extender (3 February 2015)
President Obama released his non-binding $3.99 trillion budget proposal yesterday for Fiscal Year 2016, employing $1.8 trillion worth of deficit-reducing measures to replace automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. The plan repeats for the seventh year a 28-percent cap on certain itemized deductions, including the charitable deduction, for taxpayers in the top three tax brackets. Further, the base deduction limit on charitable contributions would remain at 50 percent for cash donations to public charities only, while the limit for all other types of donations would be simplified to 30 percent. The carry-forward period for contributions in excess of these limitations would increase from five to 15 years. Also repeated is the so-called Buffett Rule, which creates a 30-percent mandatory tax rate for individuals earning $1 million or more annually, excluding deductions for charitable contributions. The White House also renewed its proposal for the permanent extension of the enhanced deduction for certain land conservation easements that expired January 1. Learn more

Finance Committee assembles tax reform working groups (15 January 2015)
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) have formally announced the formation of five tax reform working groups. In an effort to lay the groundwork for a future rewrite of the tax code, the groups will work with the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation to prepare a comprehensive analysis of the tax areas under their purview by the end of May. Learn more about tax reform

Congress restores 2014 giving incentives; 113th Congress adjourns (17 December 2014)
The Senate signed off on legislation (H.R. 5771) yesterday evening that will reinstate retroactively dozens of expired tax provisions, including the IRA charitable rollover and the enhanced deductions for donating land conservation easements and food inventory. While taxpayers will be able to employ these provisions in the upcoming filing season for the 2014 tax year, the package will expire again in roughly two-weeks' time, on January 1, 2015. The House passed the measure on December 3. The vote brought to a close the 113th Congress, and the incoming class of lawmakers is expected to convene on January 6. Learn more

House fails to advance bill to make permanent charitable giving incentives
(11 December 2014)
This afternoon, the House failed to advance the Supporting America's Charities Act (H.R. 5806), a bill that would have made permanent the IRA charitable rollover and the enhanced deductions for donations of land conservation easements and food inventory. The vote was 275 in favor and 149 opposed, just eight votes shy of the two-thirds supermajority needed under the expedited procedural rule used to consider the legislation. Independent Sector and 1,031 organizations from across the charitable and philanthropic sector sent a letter two weeks prior, urging all 535 Members of Congress to permanently enact the charitable giving incentives in the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719). Learn more

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
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