The Fiscal Cliff and the Charitable Deduction

Due to technical issues beyond my control, I am re-posting this. The original post date was December 16, 2012.  The information may still be timely so enjoy reading it for the first time or re-reading it.  Feel free to pass the link along to anyone you think will benefit from the information.  Thank you.


When the economic crisis hit the U.S. in 2007-08, most non-profits were not prepared for the sudden impact the downturn would have on their ability to fulfill their missions.   Adding to this dilemma, strained public funding continues to limit available resources for delivering programs and services for their clients.

On December 13th Independent Sector hosted a conference call with President  & CEO Diana Aviv and Vice President of Public Policy Geoffrey Plague.  Independent Sector is very concerned about the fiscal cliff conversations related to the charitable deduction and the impact on non-profit organizations.

Basically the charitable deduction would be lumped into an aggregate cap on all itemized deductions.  The popular itemized deductions are mortgage interest, state/local taxes and charitable deductions.  One proposal being floated in Washington imposes a flat dollar or a percentage limit on the total amount of itemized deductions for an individual or family.  This puts Americans in the uncomfortable position of deciding which deductions to take.  Based on the cap limits being floated, there would be little to no room to take the charitable deduction because mortgage interest and state/local taxes would win out.

Independent Sector’s research indicates that capping the charitable deduction could reduce charitable giving by as much as $7 billion a year.

I encourage you to go to Independent Sector’s website (  There are some excellent materials you can use to get the word out your constituents.  I personally like the Charitable Deduction One-Pager and the letter to our elected officials.  Over 900 non-profits across the country endorsed this letter.

In the words of Booker T. Washington, “…the most useful and influential people in [America] are those who take the deepest interest in institutions that exist for the purpose of making the world better.”