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Wyden to Nonprofits: “You are on the right side of history”

Sen. Ron Wyden speaking at National Council of Nonprofits 2014 Member MeetingSenate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), speaking April 1 at the annual member meeting of the National Council of Nonprofits, made his clearest statement of support for charitable giving tax incentives and for the work of charitable nonprofits in their communities. Reiterating that he sees the charitable deduction as a “lifeline, not a loophole,” Wyden stated his conviction that reforming the tax code “does not mean throwing overboard the charitable deduction.” He went on to state that he is troubled by the concept of a “giving floor,” rejecting a proposal in the discussion draft from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) to require giving of at least two-percent of a person’s adjusted gross income before claiming a charitable deduction.

Chairman Wyden demonstrated his respect for the work of charities by telling the audience of State Association leaders, “What you all do allows Americans to make their way up the ladder of economic mobility.” He urged nonprofits to tell their story, saying that “your ’word picture’ is the economic multiplier of the work you do and how dollars cycle through in communities. Job growth, preventive nature of work, save money.”  He concluded his remarks by stressing, “You are on the right side of history.”

Support Urged for Charitable Giving Extenders

charitable extenders letterFeeding America, the Land Trust Alliance, and the National Council of Nonprofits joined together in expressing strong support for the immediate renewal of three charitable giving incentives that expired at the end of 2013. In a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, the three national organizations made the case that “the important incentives for giving back to communities represent a significant commitment to families in need, to the conservation of cherished resources, and to the vibrancy and sustainability of community-based organizations.” On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to vote a package of tax provisions that includes these three important charitable provisions:

  • The food donation tax deduction for non-C corporations which would allow small businesses donating excess food to a qualified nonprofit to take the same enhanced tax deduction C corporations have been permitted to take since 1976.
  • The enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations which would provide an incentive for landowners to voluntarily retire certain development rights to protect important natural or historic resources on their property.
  • The IRA charitable rollover which would allow individual taxpayers aged 70½ and older to donate up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) directly to charitable nonprofits without having to treat the withdrawals as taxable income.