Welcome to the Alliance for Charitable Reform’s biweekly newsletter. Here we’ll provide you with news and views on issues that impact philanthropy.
For a refresher on the issues, visit our Archives
Friday, July 28, 2014
>> Federal: Washington Roundup
>> Federal: Chairman Ryan Pens Op-Ed
>> Federal: Senate Continues Hearings
>> Federal: Interview with Eugene Steuerle
>> Federal: Outlook Through the End of the Year
>> Consider This: Connecting with Lawmakers
>> Top Reads: House strengthens tax breaks for charitable giving
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 4719 – the America Gives More Act – on July 17 by a bipartisan vote of 277 -130. The bill makes permanent three charitable tax extenders (the IRA charitable rollover, the enhanced deduction for conservation easements, and the enhanced deduction for food donations). Additionally, H.R. 4719 includes two other provisions that are not tax extenders but have been ACR priorities for several years. First, the bill permanently streamlines the private foundation (PF) excise tax to a flat one percent rate; and second, it gives donors until April 15 to make charitable donations for the previous calendar year. ACR and several of our members were invited to brief the Ways and Means Nonprofit Tax Reform Working Group on the PF excise tax last year. We were told by staff for House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) that this briefing was instrumental in including the PF excise tax provision in H.R. 4719.
Just two weeks ago, ACR’s leadership team of donors and foundation leaders met with 16 House lawmakers and senior staff to encourage them to vote for H.R. 4719. We are pleased so many members voted for the bill and, when the time comes, we look forward to working with our champions in the Senate to pass the bill.
Prior to a speech at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on July 24, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) wrote an op-ed in USA Today touting a new anti-poverty campaign. During that speech, Ryan called for an expanded earned income tax credit as part of that plan. His credit would provide more benefits for childless workers and could be transformed into a monthly payment. We also note that Chairman Ryan was asked about private charitable giving at this AEI event by Joanne Florino, senior vice president for public policy at The Philanthropy Roundtable.
As you likely know, Chairman Ryan is expected to be the next Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee after Chairman Camp retires at the end of this year. He was one of the House lawmakers that several members of ACR’s leadership team met in DC earlier this month.
The Senate Finance Committee held the second of its summer hearings on comprehensive tax reform on July 22, focusing on the international section of the tax code and corporate inversions (the practice of US corporations shifting headquarters to low-tax jurisdictions). Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) said he plans to work on a short-term solution to help stem the growing frequency of inversions and use the space created by these immediate steps to pursue comprehensive tax reform.
The Finance Committee held a third hearing on July 24 focused on Social Security. During his opening statement, Chairman Wyden said “On a bipartisan basis, Congress must ensure this safety net is not shredded. Let’s all focus on the vital goal, which is updating and protecting this essential program for generations to come.” While the hearing examined several potential long-term solutions to keep the program solvent, Congress is not scheduled to consider any of these in the near future.
ACR continues to be the organization providing firsthand access to the most influential policy experts for the nonprofit sector in our nation’s capital. The latest example is our discussion with Eugene Steuerle, who serves as the Richard B. Fisher Chair at the Urban Institute. Steuerle discusses the most recent study from the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution entitled: Description and Analysis of the Camp Tax Reform Plan. Steuerle explains how the tax policy included in the draft affects the charitable sector and offers his thoughts on provisions that would help strengthen it.
Both the House and the Senate are set to go on a month-long summer recess this Thursday, July 31. Both chambers will return the week of September 1, but only for a few weeks before adjourning again to campaign before the mid-term elections on November 4. We expect the Senate Finance Committee to continue hearings on tax reform options but we don’t expect one of those hearings to be directly related to charitable issues. On the House side, the Ways and Means Committee continues to meet with groups about Chairman Camp’s tax reform draft.
Lawmakers will then return to Washington for the lame duck session – the time period remaining on the legislative calendar after an election but before new Members are sworn in as part of a new session. The lame duck is expected to be very busy as Congress will likely punt big-ticket items into the lame duck and avoid risky votes before the election. Such items include a final resolution on tax extenders; legislation to fund the government into next year to avert a shutdown; and a reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank, which provides a variety of loan, guarantee, and insurance products intended to aid the export of American goods and services.
Since lawmakers will be back in their home states and districts during the entire month of August, this is a great time to connect with them and discuss the importance of the nonprofit sector! We recommend you take a few minutes to watch the video below of former congressional staffers explaining why it is so important to engage with your elected officials.
To help you prepare for your outreach, our friends at The Philanthropic Collaborative and the Foundation for the Carolinas hosted a webinar on July 15 to review a toolkit for connecting with lawmakers: Tools for Outreach to Policymakers.
- National: House strengthens tax breaks for charitable giving
- National: House Passes Bill Designed to Encourage Gifts to Charity
- National: House Passes America Gives More Act
- National: House Passes Tax Breaks to Boost Charitable Giving
- National: House Approves Tax Breaks for Donations to Charity
- Opinion: Measuring Charity Effectiveness: Manage Your Mission, Not Your Rating
- Opinion: Why the Obama White House Says “No” to the America Gives More Act
- Local: Founding Fathers’ philanthropy: America’s strong giving tradition
- Local: Philanthropist Donates $650 Million for Psychiatric Research
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