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NDANO Letter in Support of Federal Charitable Giving Incentives

In support of "100 Years of Giving," NDANO submitted the following letter to the North Dakota Congressional Delegation to ask for their support of federal charitable giving incentives.

We write to raise the concerns of charitable nonprofits in North Dakota as the 115th Congress considers comprehensive federal tax reform. Multiple elements of the Internal Revenue Code affect the operations and resources of charitable nonprofits, including individual tax rates, the standard deduction, the estate tax, and many more. All are extremely important and must be resolved in the context of other changes. In this letter, we focus on the primary charitable giving tax incentive – the charitable deduction – and seek your support in not only protecting it, but also enhancing it as a viable tool for encouraging individuals to give back to their communities through the work of charitable nonprofits.

As you know, nonprofits classified as 501(c)(3) organizations under the Internal Revenue Code provide valuable services for your constituents throughout North Dakota. Indeed, we work and live in every community in the state, addressing the needs of your constituents and improving the quality of life for all. Thirteen percent of North Dakota’s workforce is employed by charitable nonprofits. As taxpayers, as providers of essential services in communities, and as partners with governments in strengthening North Dakota, we are very interested in ensuring that federal tax reforms improve and do not undermine our ability to serve North Dakotans every day.

We are concerned about reports that Congress could limit, alter, or diminish the impact of the current itemized deduction for charitable donations. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the enactment of the charitable deduction, an incentive that encourages individuals to give to charitable organizations whose missions they support. Over the past century, the incentive has generated critical resources to further the work of churches, domestic violence shelters, early childhood programs, food banks, school alumni groups, and all other charitable nonprofits.

For the sake of our communities, we ask that you keep this question before you as tax policy proposals are presented:

Does a potential tax policy change enhance, or does it undermine, the ability of individuals to secure essential services, to enjoy the programs and activities that enhance their quality of life, and uplift the spirit of faith, innovation, and inspiration in communities across North Dakota?

Numerous proposals would actually undermine this work. Notably, capping all itemized deductions, including charitable giving, would effectively take away incentives for donations (because other itemized deductions are likely fixed costs for individuals) and would further reduce the ability of charitable organizations to meet the increasing need for services in their communities.

Charitable nonprofits in North Dakota and throughout the United States are dedicated to the public good; our work improves lives, strengthens communities and the economy, and lightens the burdens of government, taxpayers, and society as a whole. Maintaining the value of the charitable deduction is essential to the ongoing work of charitable nonprofits in delivering essential services, enhancing quality of life, and uplifting the spirit of faith, innovation, and inspiration in local communities across America. It is imperative that Congress make no change to the charitable deduction that could endanger the ability of nonprofit organizations to serve those most in need and to continue to strengthen local communities across America.

Indeed, there is a way for Congress to actually enhance the charitable giving incentive. You could expand it so the incentive is available to all Americans by making it universally available through a non-itemizer deduction.

According to a survey commissioned by the North Dakota Association of Nonprofit Organizations (NDANO) last year, a majority of North Dakotans said charitable giving tax deductions and credits are important. We ask you to support our communities by standing firm in support of federal tax law incentives for charitable giving.

Learn more about NDANO's federal policy positions.

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PO Box 1091
Bismarck, ND 58502
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