Latest Policy News
IRS withdraws donation substantiation proposal
January 7, 2016
After pushback from the charitable sector as well as from a number of lawmakers, the Internal Revenue Service today withdrew a rule proposed in September to create an alternative method of substantiating charitable donations of $250 or more. The proposed rule, an alternative to the “contemporaneous written acknowledgement” requirement, would have enabled charities to file a new information return each year, listing donors who gave contributions of more than $250 along with their taxpayer identification numbers or Social Security numbers. Nonprofit organizations expressed concern about the risks involved with collection of Social Security numbers and submitted thousands of public comments in opposition to the proposal. Additionally, legislation was introduced in both chambers of Congress to limit or block the proposal. The withdrawal came in a Federal Register notice scheduled to be published tomorrow.

Permanent tax extenders, including charitable giving incentives, become law
January 4, 2016
Following passage by Congress of a tax bill including 22 permanent tax breaks, including the three charitable giving incentives, President Obama signed the measure into law on December 18, 2015.  The measure also includes a two-year delay in implementation for the so-called “Cadillac tax.” The giving incentives restored and made permanent are the IRA charitable rollover and enhanced deductions for donations of food inventory and conservation easements. Independent Sector with partners had urged Congress to address the measures as soon as possible to restore much needed certainty to the tax code.

Read IS' message about the impact of this law.

Brady chosen as new House Ways and Means Chair
November 5, 2015
The House Republican Steering Committee selected Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) as its choice to serve as the next Ways and Means chair, replacing outgoing chair and new House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).  The Committee also chose Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) to fill the opening on the Ways and Means committee left by Ryan’s departure.  The full House Republican Conference ratified the Committee’s selections this morning.  Prior to the vote in the Steering Committee, the race between candidates Brady and Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH) was seen as almost too close to call, but after Speaker Ryan officially endorsed Brady during yesterday’s meeting, the Committee threw its support behind him as well.  Rep. Brady, a Member of Congress since 1997, has indicated that as Ways and Means Chair he plans to press ahead on both tax reform and the reinstatement of the expired tax extenders.  Brady has previously supported permanence for some extenders, including the research and development tax credit and the charitable giving incentives.

DOJ closes investigation into Lois Lerner without bringing charges
October 28, 2015
The Justice Department (DOJ) notified Congress that it was ending its two-year investigation into whether the IRS improperly targeted the tea party and other conservative groups, and declining to bring charges against Lois Lerner, the former IRS Exempt Organizations Division Director who was at the center of the probe.  No other IRS employees will be charged.  The Department investigation found "substantial evidence of mismanagement, poor judgment and institutional inertia” but “no evidence that any IRS official acted based on political, discriminatory, corrupt, or other inappropriate motives that would support a criminal prosecution," said Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik in a letter to Members of Congress.  The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducted its own investigation into the matter, eventually leading to a House vote along party lines to hold Lerner in contempt for her refusal to testify before the Committee, citing her Fifth Amendment rights.

Senate probe concludes, finds IRS mishandled exempt-sector oversight
August 6, 2015
The Senate Finance  Committee published a report yesterday of its investigation into the IRS processing of exempt-status applications, finding pervasive mismanagement within the tax agency’s Exempt Organizations (EO) Division between 2010 and 2013. Despite being the first bipartisan probe on the matter to conclude, the report presented disparate interpretations regarding the cause of these IRS failures, with Republicans suggesting a connection to the White House political agenda and Democrats saying no political interference occurred. The committee recommended several ways for the IRS to address the issue. The IRS in a statement welcomed the suggestions for further improvement beyond the measures it already has adopted.

Nonprofits join in requesting more time for overtime proposal comments

August 5, 2015
Independent Sector, National Council of Nonprofits, and 145 organizations from across the charitable and philanthropic sector sent a letter to the Department of Labor today, requesting a 60-day extension of the public comment period for the proposed rule revising overtime pay regulations. "This multi-part proposal is particularly complex for the more than 1.5 million charitable organizations across America," the letter states, "as each attempts to determine not only the proposal's potential impact on its own workforce, but also on the individuals and communities it serves." Learn more

IS testifies at Senate hearing on IRS oversight of exempt-sector political activity
July 30, 2015
During a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing yesterday focused on IRS oversight of exempt organizations with political activity, Independent Sector President and CEO Diana Aviv called for clearer rules surrounding such activities, including specific permissible levels and disclosure of donors whose contributions are intended to be used to influence the outcome of elections. Learn more

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