Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have introduced the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act to expand the current above-the-line deduction for charitable giving made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March.
If passed, the bill would ensure that Americans who donate to charities, houses of worship, religious organizations, and other nonprofits are able to deduct that donation from their federal taxes at a higher level than the current $300 deduction.
Specifically, the bill would make available (for tax years 2019 and 2020) an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving on federal income taxes valued at up to one-third of the standard deduction — around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers.
“Long-term, I think this the right thing to do,” Lankford told members of the NRB President’s Council on Wednesday during an exclusive Zoom video conference.
“Not-for-profits are much more efficient than government in getting social safety-net help to individuals. Quite frankly, we need them to able to thrive. It helps America thrive in faith. It helps America thrive as far as taking care of those in greatest need,” he added.
Lankford and Coons previously offered a similar proposal as an amendment to the CARES Act. Although the amendment was not adopted, the CARES Act did provide a charitable tax deduction of up to $300 from federal tax liability.
In May, Lankford and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) sent a letter to Senate leadership to request the inclusion of charitable giving provisions in any future coronavirus relief bill.
And, in his recent testimony before the congressional Joint Economic Committee, Lankford offered his full support for encouraging Americans to work with and give to nonprofits in their communities and around the nation to best serve their families and neighbors.
“We are thankful for the leadership and ongoing efforts of Sen. Lankford to ensure that nonprofits are supported during this time as they are serving America even as they face difficulties themselves,” commented NRB CEO Troy Miller. “We are also thankful for his colleagues in the Senate who recognize the importance of nonprofits and want to encourage and foster giving in America at a time when it’s needed most. We hope the rest of the Senate will follow suit and quickly pave the way for the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act.”