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Obama Administration Might Abandon Plan to Reduce Charitable Deductions for Wealthy

(March 5, 2009) Obama’s current plan would limit the value of the tax break for itemized deductions, including donations to charity, to 28 percent for families making more than $250,000.

According to government estimates, the plan would cost wealthier taxpayers about $318 billion in new taxes over 10 years, reports The Wall Street Journal.

But in a statement this week before Congress, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner suggested that the administration may be willing to consider dropping or modifying the proposal, the newspaper reports.

When asked by Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.), at a Congressional hearing March 4, why Obama’s budget blueprint would involve paying for expanded health coverage with a deductions curb that "has nothing to do with healthcare,” Geitner said the following: "We recognize there are other ways to do this …We are willing to listen to all ideas that meet these broad principles."

AFP Opposes the Measure

In a joint statement, AFP and the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) oppose the proposal in the president's budget that would impose new limits on charitable tax deductions.

While both organizations note that they applaud the president’s overall efforts in the budget to revive the economy, reform healthcare, revise energy policy and tackle other important issues affecting the country, they believe the proposal sends the wrong message at the wrong time to those who support charitable causes.

In a position paper published March 4, AFP and AHP said Obama’s plan “puts forward a scheme that would effectively devalue charitable gifts made by the very people who are in a position to make substantial donations at a time when they are sorely needed.”

AFP is encouraging its members to contact their Senators and Representatives in Congress to oppose this or any other provision that would impose new limits on charitable deductions.

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