(Washington, DC) -- Americans who are willing to open their pocketbooks as well as their hearts to help others deserve fairer, more equitable treatment under the Tax Code. That's the message the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) delivered to Congress today at a Capitol Hill event, where NTU and many other non-profit groups offered praise and active support for the charitable tax provisions contained in S. 1780, the "CARE" Act sponsored by Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT).
"Through natural disasters, wars, and everyday humanitarian challenges, America's charities have delivered compassionate solutions that have often been timelier, more effective, and more efficient than governments' responses," said NTU Government Affairs Manager Kristina Rasmussen. "Congress has an excellent opportunity to recognize these vital, valuable contributions to our society -- as well as the contributions of tens of millions of charitable donors -- by passing the tax provisions of the CARE Act."
Although Americans who itemize their federal tax deductions have long been able to claim charitable contributions on their tax returns, over 80 million non-itemizers do not currently have this option. S. 1780, the CARE (Charity, Aid, Recovery, and Empowerment) Act would address this unbalanced tax treatment by providing an above-the-line deduction on tax forms for charitable contributions, even if the filer claims the standard deduction instead of itemizing.
Rasmussen noted, however, that S. 1780 also contains "several other sensible provisions that acknowledge the even greater potential for charitable giving to change lives." For example, one reform would end the negative tax consequences surrounding charitable distributions from Individual Retirement Accounts made by those aged 70-1/2 and above. In addition, existing deductions for donations of food, book inventories, and musical and artistic compositions would be expanded. Furthermore, those who are reimbursed in connection with using their automobiles for charitable work could exclude these reimbursements from gross income.
"Charitable giving is not some exclusive activity confined to the wealthiest tier of our society," Rasmussen concluded. "Indeed, Americans of modest means often tend to donate a greater percentage of their incomes to charities overall than those in other economic brackets. Until Congress can enact true tax reform that puts more money back into the pockets of those who earned it -- and the charities that do so much for our communities -- the tax incentives in the CARE Act can give these caring, hard-working taxpayers the solid support they deserve."
NTU is a non-profit, non-partisan citizen group working for lower taxes, smaller government, and greater economic freedom at all levels. Note: Further information on NTU's tax policy work is available online at www.ntu.org.