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Walker Introduces Legislation to Allow Low and Middle Income Taxpayers to Deduct Charitable Giving

December 2, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) on Giving Tuesday introduced a bill that incentivizes charitable giving for low and middle income earning individuals and families through tax deductions.

The Universal Charitable Giving Act establishes a universal charitable deduction for individuals and married couples who do not itemize, in addition to the standard deduction. This would be an above-the-line deduction up to one-third of the new standard deduction – about $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for married couples.

"People not the government offer the best solutions to solve the ailments that face our society, and by supporting charities, we make our communities and our country a better place for Americans from all walks of life,” Walker said. "The Universal Charitable Giving Act allows everyone to deduct charitable giving, regardless of itemizing status while increasing support for the great work our faith-based and charitable organizations contribute.”

Charitable giving is one of the largest individual income tax provisions, estimated at $56.9 billion in FY2017. Roughly 71% of tax expenditures for charitable giving in FY2017 will be claimed by taxpayers in the $200,000 and above income class. 

Giving Tuesday, taking place on December 3, 2019, is a worldwide philanthropic event, harnessing the generosity of millions to support the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. According to United Way Worldwide, last year, more than 3.6 million people from 150 countries joined together to raise $400 million for charity on Giving Tuesday. The Universal Charitable Giving Act would only enhance these great efforts for some of our most valued organizations. 

“Congressman Walker’s legislation could reverse troubling giving trends by empowering more donors to increase their donations to their church or charity of choice. A universal (nonitemizer) deduction would allow donors to give to those in need without having to pay taxes on income they have donated," Steve Taylor, Senior Vice President and Counsel for Public Policy, United Way Worldwide said. “While we know Americans give for altruistic reasons, good tax policy will allow people to give more.”

You can read the full text of the legislation here. 

The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits also issued a statement of support for the Universal Charitable Giving Act and applauded Walker’s work for charitable organizations:

“Nonprofits use private charitable contributions to provide essential services such as food, education, health care, spiritual development, job training, youth programs, arts and culture, child care, services for seniors, affordable housing, and assistance for victims of domestic violence. Recent studies such as the annual Giving USA survey indicate that charitable giving declined in 2018, particularly among middle-class Americans. When the NC Center for Nonprofits asked North Carolina nonprofits about giving patterns earlier this year, nearly a third said that they expect a further drop in individual giving this year.

“At a time when 56% of North Carolina nonprofits are unable to meet basic needs, any decline in charitable giving takes away from nonprofits’ ability to serve communities and increases the number of North Carolinians relying on government services. This costs taxpayers money and diverts public funds from other pressing needs.

“By encouraging all Americans to give more generously to support the work of charitable nonprofits, the Universal Charitable Giving Act would strengthen nonprofits’ capacity to provide essential services in communities across North Carolina.”

The Universal Charitable Giving Act, which Walker also introduced in the 115th Congress, has the support of organizations including Alliance for Charitable Reform, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Boy Scouts of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Catholic Charities USA, Charitable Giving Coalition, City Year, The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Feeding America, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Incorporated, Goodwill Industries International, Inc., Habitat for Humanity International, Independent Sector, The Jewish Federations of North America, Leadership 18, Lutheran Services in America, Mental Health America, National Council on Aging, The National Council of Nonprofits, Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, YMCA of the USA, United Way Worldwide and YWCA USA.