U.S. Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., recently reintroduced a bill to motivate philanthropy among low- and middle-income families. He timed the bill’s filing to coincide with Giving Tuesday, the day charities push for donations at the start of the holiday shopping season.
Walker’s Universal Charitable Giving Act would allow taxpayers to deduct their charitable giving in an amount up to one-third of the standard deduction even if they do not itemize their deductions on their federal income tax returns. Currently, only people who itemize may claim a deduction for charitable giving, and those people tend to have higher incomes.
The Republican tax reform law doubled the standard deduction, meaning almost all taxpayers will claim it instead of itemizing. Many worried that charitable giving would decrease as a result. Earlier this year, the Fundraising Effectiveness Project reported that charitable giving increased, but the number of donors decreased. Walker introduced his Universal Charitable Giving Act in 2017, and other lawmakers have proposed similar ideas with no success yet. —Charissa Koh