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Senate Hearings on Charities & Charitable Gifts Set for June 22

The U.S. Senate Finance Committee has announced a hearing for June 22 that will focus on a number of issues related to charitable giving abuses, governance and best practices.

The exact issues to be explored at the bipartisan hearing, called by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Max Baucus (R-Mont.), are not completely set yet. However, some of the issues expected to be discussed include donor gifts of tangible and intangible property.

As part of the Jumpstart Our Business Strength (JOBS) Act, the Senate passed reforms in two areas related to donations of used vehicles and intellectual property, including patents. Other potential issues include over-valuation of contributions of art, charitable life insurance and compensation of trustees and other charity officials.

'We have a responsibility to conduct oversight of the tax system,' Grassley said in a press release about the hearings. 'Lately, more and more tax problems involving charitable giving have come out. Our oversight should include which transactions are in keeping with the intent and spirit of the tax code, which may be inappropriately exploiting charities' tax-exempt status and which may be unfairly enriching individuals and corporations.'

During the hearing, the committee is expected to hear from the IRS and several Attorneys General, who will discuss enforcement issues. The committee is also planning to receive testimony from individuals with first-hand knowledge of problems and abuses in donations of tangible and intangible property. Some nonprofit officials are also expected to appear before the committee.

Grassley has indicated he hopes that the June 22 hearing will result in additional legislation addressing governance and best practices.

AFP has been in close contact with the Finance Committee and will be monitoring the hearing and any legislation that may be introduced afterwards.

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