A bipartisan pair of United States senators serving on the Senate Finance Committee recently introduced a bill that may affect charitable organizations-and the individuals who donate to them.
The bill (S. 1343) is known as the Charities Helping Americans Regularly Throughout the Year Act-or, CHARITY Act for short. Sponsored by U.S. Senators John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bob Casey (D-Penn.), the proposed legislation aims to reform federal charitable tax provisions and, essentially, make it easier and more worthwhile for individuals to support their favorite charities.
Senators Thune and Casey, in the introduction of the bill, lay out a simple reason for its necessity: The charitable contribution tax deduction is an important part of the United States tax code, and it should be protected.
The full text of the bill, which can be read here (for a shorter version, a summary can be found here), includes a number of provisions that should be favorable for charities, donors and transparency proponents alike.
Finally, the CHARITY Act bill includes a “Sense of the Senate” section, which states, in part, “encouraging charitable giving should be a goal of tax reform, and Congress should ensure that the value and scope of the deduction for charitable contributions is not diminished during a comprehensive reform of the tax code.”
With the healthcare debate on pause, it’s expected that much of Congress’s attention will soon move to tax reform. Although it is unlikely the CHARITY Act legislation will be enacted separately from other, more comprehensive tax code reforms, the “Sense of the Senate” section of the CHARITY Act should be encouraging for the charitable non-profit sector and anyone who cares about charitable tax deductions.