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Tax Itemizers Give More at All Income Levels

WASHINGTON (AFP eWire - April 18, 2003) - Taxpayers who itemize their tax returns donate more to charity than those who don't itemize - regardless of income level - according to a new report from Independent Sector.

The report, 'Deducting Generosity: The Effect of Charitable Tax Incentives on Giving,' was released on 'tax day,' April 15.

Itemizing households give 37 percent more in charitable contributions than nonitemizing households, $1,800 vs. $1,310, the report said. The results were adjusted for income.

The findings were released less than a week after the U.S. Senate passed the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Act, or Senate Bill 476, which includes several key charitable giving incentives, including allowing taxpayers who do not itemize their taxes - about two-thirds of all taxpayers - to take deductions. The bill has moved on to the House of Representatives. (Read more on the CARE Act in this week's eWire article, "CARE Act to Be Introduced in House Soon.")

According to the report, households that itemize their taxes gave at least 40 percent more at every income level that was analyzed than households that didn't itemize. Itemizers in households with income of $50,000 to $74,999 gave an average of $1,980 compared to $1,250 for nonitemizers at the same income level. Households that earned less than $25,000 gave an average of $710 if they itemized and $400 if they didn't.

The differences in giving between itemizers and nonitemizers grew when religious giving was analyzed. At every income level below $100,000, the difference between itemizers and nonitemizers in regard to religious giving was more than 70 percent. Itemizers in households with incomes of $50,000 to $74,999 gave $1,180 compared to $630 for nonitemizers, an 87 percent difference. Households earning less than $25,000 gave $430 to religious organizations if they itemized and $250 if they did not, a 72 percent difference.

The report noted that homeowners are motivated to itemize their tax returns because they can deduct home mortgage interest expenses. Again, in all income categories, itemizers who owned their home gave more to charities than nonitemizing homeowners.

The report is based on analysis from Independent Sector's 'Giving and Volunteering in the United States' survey, which questioned more than 4,000 adults in 2001 in the United States.

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