Leaders Again Push For America Gives More Act

Five leading nonprofit advocacy organizations yesterday took the opportunity of the #GivingTuesday international day of fundraising to send a letter to President Barack Obama and Congressional leadership urging them to enact charitable provisions found in the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719).

“Congress and your administration are closer than ever before to making an historic investment in the non-profit sector that could increase charitable contributions by tens of billions of dollars,” the signers wrote. “The impact on low-income Americans and underserved populations cannot be overstated,” they wrote.

The signers were Independent Sector, the Council on Foundations, Feeding America, the Land Trust Alliance and United Way Worldwide.

“Today, on Giving Tuesday, we urge President Obama to unleash the maximum good that charitable donations can accomplish,” Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector told The NonProfit Times. “We hope the President will work with Congress to complete a tax package that includes the provisions of the America Gives More Act.” The House of Representatives passed H.R. 4719 earlier this year but differences remain in the Senate.

Congress went on Thanksgiving recess amid talk of a deal on a $440 billion tax compromise legislative package. President Obama has threatened a veto of the bill. The package is said to deal with 55 expiring federal tax extenders and includes charitable giving incentives such as the IRA charitable rollover. The debate includes whether the charitable provisions would be permanent or simply extended.

Multiple Washington, D.C.-based media outlets have quoted incoming Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) as saying the expiring tax issues probably will get a one-year extension until a larger bill can be worked out.

A spokesman for the White House said President Obama is threatening to veto the as yet undelivered package. It’s not clear if there are the votes to override the veto. White House has threatened to veto because the package is expensive, adding to the deficit but also mainly favoring business.

According to a statement released by the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C., the deal also would make nine other extenders permanent, including the deduction for conservation easement contributions and the deduction for gifts of food inventory. Two provisions would be removed, while the 43 other expired provisions would be temporarily renewed through 2015.

Sources on Capitol Hill told The NonProfit Times that significant differences remain between the House and Senate versions. “The House extends benefits longer and does not offset. The Senate only extends two years,” according to the source, who has knowledge of the negotiations.

The Independent Sector sent an open letter to Congress on Nov. 18, pressing for extension of charitable deductions and taxpayer incentives to give to nonprofits via the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719).

Independent Sector is seeking five charitable provisions including renewing and making permanent three expired tax extender provisions: the IRA charitable rollover, the enhanced deduction for donating land conservation easements, and the enhanced deduction for donating food inventory. The organization also supports extending through April 15 the deadline for claiming charitable donations on the previous year’s tax filing and simplifying to 1 percent the excise tax rate for private foundations’ investment income.

“Whether it’s food to fill hungry bellies, retirement savings of our country’s workers or pristine land to conserve in perpetuity, donations of all kinds can move mountains and all deserve a reliable, valuable tax incentive,” said Aviv. “The time to invest in programs that lift up lives and improve communities is now.”