There’s a lot of worry in the nonprofit world.
Republicans are hashing out their differences in an overhaul of the tax system and if things go as planned, a boost in the standard deduction may result in fewer people itemizing. And, without itemizing, not as many taxpayers will be able to deduct charitable contributions. The tax deduction has been a mighty powerful tool in getting people to be generous.
“The tax cuts bill the GOP is trying to get through Congress before Christmas would make 2017 the last year tens of millions of Americans would get a tax break for donating to charity,” reports Ashlea Ebeling for Forbes. “The reason: a new higher standard deduction of $24,000 per couple ($12,000 single) would mean that only 5 percent of taxpayers would take itemized deductions, such as those for charitable gifts.”
Charitable contributions could drop by $13 billion, according to research by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
“Forecast declines in charitable giving could be devastating to the nonprofit sector,” opined David Perry, executive director of the Blue Ridge Land Conservancy in Roanoke, Va. “Organizations rely on charitable giving to survive. Tax legislation that discourages charitable giving can only be seen as a job killer, not a job creator.”
I don’t believe people will stop giving. The question is will they give as much if they can’t take the deduction?
Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits, told NPR’s Pam Fessler that a decline in donations “is worrisome at a time when Congress is also trying to cut spending on domestic programs. That will lead to more people having more needs. We’re just concerned that this is going to overwhelm the nonprofit community.”
Given the changes coming you might need to read this: 13 Tips For Making Your Charitable Donation Tax-Deductible In 2017
Color of Money question of the week
If you can no longer itemize charitable giving would that impact your level of generosity? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Charitable Giving” in the subject line. Please include your name, city and state.
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There are only two more live chats before the end of the year. So what money issues do you have on your mind? How do you feel the year went when it comes to your personal finances? What would you have done differently? What are your financial goals for the new year?
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Your favorite Color of Money Column in 2017
For the last newsletter before the holiday, I wanted to do a compilation of the best of 2017 Color of Money columns.
So, what’s your favorite column from the past year and why? Here’s a link for the archive to jog your memory.
Send your choices to email@example.com. In the subject line put “Best of 2017.”
All I want for Christmas is a payment on my student loans
The Student Loan Report, a website that covers student loan news, asked 1,000 borrowers: “If you had the choice this year, would you rather receive a gift this holiday season or an equally valued payment towards your student loans?”
Nearly 70 percent of respondents would prefer a loan payment made on his or her behalf. Last week I asked you to weigh in on the findings and how stressed people are about their loans.
Jim Cartwright from Damascus, Va., said he had a long discussion with his three children about student loans. Ultimately his message is don’t look for someone to bail you out.
“All three started at a community college,” he wrote. “One never finished college. But she was able to get a job with her two plus years in school and her accounting classes. The middle child studied ‘sustainable economic development’ at Appalachian State University. After finding how very limited his options were, he learned German, French and took a business degree from UNC-Greensboro in international business. Later he learned some Dutch and worked in Paris and London until he attended law school. The baby attended Humboldt State University before earning a degree in French and economics at UNC-Greensboro. All three knew they would have to repay their student loans. The lawyer finished paying off his law school loans two years ago. If a young person takes out a student loan, it has to be repaid. Period! Work and save money. Attend community college while in high school. Attend public college unless you win a scholarship to a private college. Work after graduating to repay the loans by having two jobs, one for living expenses and another for student loans.”
Color of Money columns this week
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Have a question about your finances? Michelle Singletary has a weekly live chat every Thursday at noon where she discusses financial dilemmas with readers. You can also write to Michelle directly by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read more Color of Money columns, go here.