Senate considering bill to assist charities
Not many people may realize this fact, but charitable giving (adjusted for inflation) in the United States actually dropped last year for the first time in more than 15 years! As a result of responding to the challenges posed by the attacks of Sept. 11 and the sluggish economy, America’s charities actually have less money to provide services. The need for charitable services has increased dramatically, and yet, too many charitable organizations have been forced to lay off staff and cut programs.
There is a bill before the U.S. Senate that would provide assistance to the nation’s charitable sector. Senate Bill 1924, the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment Act, would create new incentives to spur charitable giving. Among the most important of the proposed new incentives is a provision that would allow donors with excess funds in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) or other retirement accounts to transfer gifts from their IRAs to a charity tax free. Currently, if donors try to give to charity through an IRA, they have to pay taxes on the amount given. This “IRA Rollover” provision would eliminate this tax.
Another incentive would allow individuals who don’t itemize their tax returns to receive a deduction for specified contributions. If donors give above a certain amount annually, they would get to take the deduction. The CARE Act would also help shelters, food banks, libraries, literacy programs and schools by creating additional incentives to encourage gifts of food, books, and technological and scientific equipment.
Americans everywhere should support the CARE Act and should tell their senators to pass this legislation as soon as possible. In these challenging times, we have all come together to help one another. Just as charities have been helping all of us, it’s time for us to help them.
To find contact information for your senator, go to:
Edward W. Cotney, CPhD, FWC
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