How will new tax code affect charitable giving to your organization?
by Karen Perry-Weinstat
As widely publicized, the new tax code will reduce the percentage of Americans who can claim charitable deductions on their taxes — from about 30% now to just 10% of all taxpayers beginning this year. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that itemized deductions will drop by $95 billion in 2018. However, remember that this 10% of taxpayers includes many of the highest earners who are likely to give the most significant dollar contributions to nonprofit organizations. So what does that mean for the other 90% of charitable donors?
Thankfully, the majority of donors do not give simply for a tax deduction. Most often, donors give because your cause resonates with them in a very personal way. Sometimes, they are supporting a colleague, as with an event honoree, or a friend’s campaign on a personal fundraising page. Often, donors are moved and care about your mission as a personal matter. For smaller donations, the net difference with the tax deduction is minimal. These donors will likely continue their largesse.
What’s more, businesses in our communities stand to benefit from the new law, with a decrease in taxes. This will put dollars in company pockets, some of which can be donated to nonprofits, either directly or in the form of sponsorships. This cash flow windfall can actually become a corporate incentive, as some sponsorships are budgeted as marketing expenses, which remain deductible.
While none of us has a crystal ball, giving to charity has become part of the American landscape. Generous people have discovered that giving yields its own rewards. Corporate influencers will continue to be motivated to give. Individual donors will continue to support organizations they find meaningful. In the era of the new tax code, the challenge for development teams is to simply “stick to basics.” With a focus on clearly communicating the significance of their missions and the value of their work, lives will continue to be touched.