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Passage of Major Charitable Reforms by Memorial Day?

(May 2, 2005) According to Capitol Hill staff, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), chair of the Senate Finance Committee, is seeking to have his charitable reform measures passed by Memorial Day.

These measures likely will include:

  • changes to the noncash gift deduction rules, dramatically limiting the deduction a donor could take;
  • the implementation of a federal accreditation program;
  • the creation of Form 990 filing fees to be imposed on charities;
  • state enforcement of federal laws that likely would result in 50 different interpretations;
  • restrictions on the size of boards; and
  • a requirement compelling charities to submit extensive and detailed information justifying their tax-exempt status to the IRS every five years.

It appears that Sen. Grassley will try to pass the charitable reforms by attaching them to the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act. AFP has strongly supported the CARE Act over the past four years because it contained several important charitable giving incentives such as the IRA rollover provision.

However, if burdensome charitable reforms are added to the CARE Act, AFP will be forced to reconsider its position on the legislation. AFP is working with members of Congress to ensure that the CARE Act is introduced without any onerous reforms attached.

AFP Forms Noncash Gift Coalition - Your Action Needed!

In an effort to oppose changes to the noncash gift deduction rules, AFP and the American Association of Museums have formed a coalition with other charitable organizations. The coalition held its first meeting in April to coordinate its membership and is in the process of drafting its official message. The next meeting is scheduled for May 9, 2005, to develop a coordinated legislative strategy for Congress regarding Grassley's charitable reforms measures and specifically the limiting of deductions for noncash charitable gifts.

AFP strongly urges members to send letters to their members of Congress about these reforms. It is vital that senior leadership and boards of directors of charities speak out about the impact these measures could have on their organizations and their ability to provide critically needed services. Chapters are also urged to use chapter meetings and programs to recruit people to contact Congress and get the message out.

AFP has updated its legislative alert webpage with a sample letter, talking points and additional information. Members should use this information to help them, their colleagues and other organizations communicate with Congress.

If members have additional questions or concerns, please contact Jason Lee, director, government relations, at


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