Senators Speaking Up for the Charitable Deduction

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and John Thune (R-SD) are asking their Senate colleagues to recognize the importance of the charitable tax deduction and to stand publicly in its defense. In a letter intended to be delivered to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senators Wyden and Thune declare “the importance of protecting the full value and scope of the charitable deduction during a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code.” Moreover, noting its effectiveness in tax law for nearly 100 years, they highlight the charitable deduction’s uniqueness in that “It is the only provision that encourages taxpayers to give away a portion of their income for the benefit of others. For this reason, it is not a loophole, but a lifeline for millions of Americans in need.”

NRB issued a statement this summer about the charitable tax deduction, saying to Senators, “Don’t mess with a century of success.” Following statements by Senators Baucus and Hatch that they would be taking a “blank slate” approach to comprehensive tax reform, NRB sent letters to all the members of the Senate Finance Committee and declared, “Many of our members are non-profit organizations that not only powerfully illuminate public needs, but directly work to help the hungry, hurting, addicted, and vulnerable in the United States and abroad. These organizations rely on charitable giving to serve their communities effectively, and any restriction of the charitable deduction could be devastating to their efforts.”

Notably, with the news this week that President Obama intends to nominate Senator Baucus to be U.S. Ambassador to China, it is possible Senator Wyden may become Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.  Only Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is more senior on that panel, and he has not signaled an intention to leave as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee before his retirement at the end of 2014.

By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations

Published: December 20, 2013