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AFP, Nonprofit Coalition Urge Congress to Preserve Charitable Tax Deduction

December 20, 2011

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) recently circulated a letter urging the Senate Finance Committee and the Members of Congress who were members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to preserve the current charitable deduction during future tax discussions.

AFP, the chair of a coalition of nonprofit organizations and umbrella groups, anticipates that Congress will continue to pursue ways to reduce the deficit and implement tax reforms in 2012, even though the Join Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was unable to agree upon any recommendations.

During the joint committee’s work, it was reported that Republicans were open to eliminating certain tax deductions, including charitable deductions, for the wealthy in exchange for a permanent reduction of the marginal tax rates set under President George W. Bush. Simultaneously, the Democrats appeared open to capping the tax reduction that high income taxpayers can get from tax expenditures (such as itemized deductions like the charitable deduction) based upon a percentage of adjusted gross income.

“No one will benefit if Congress diminishes longstanding tax incentives for charitable giving,” said Andrew Watt, FInsF, president and CEO of AFP. “The services that charities provide are critical and bridge the gap in our communities, especially as budgetary constraints hinder state and federal governments from providing similar services. We urge Congress to preserve this important giving incentive.”

The coalition noted in its letter that the charitable deduction is different than other tax provisions in that it encourages individuals to give away a portion of their income to those in need. The charitable deduction rewards a selfless act, and it encourages taxpayers to give more funds to charities than they would otherwise have given. Data suggests that for every dollar a donor gets in tax relief for his or her donation, the public typically receives three dollars of benefit. No other tax provision generates that kind of positive public impact.

To read the coalition letter, go to:  http://www.afpnet.org/files/ContentDocuments/NonprofitCoalitionLetterSenatorBaucusDec2011.pdf

AFP educated Congress about this issue throughout 2011 using direct advocacy and grassroots efforts, a campaign that was enhanced by an online advocacy tool provided by Engaging Networks.

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The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 227 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs. The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession. For more information, go to www.afpnet.org.

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