Lawmakers support expansion of CARES Act deduction

Four Republican Senators, four Democratic Senators, a House Democrat, and a House Republican have introduced legislation to expand the increased charitable deduction cap for non-itemizers to up to one-third of the standard deduction. The Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S.618/H.R.1704) also extends this temporary $300 deduction, which was included in the original CARES Act, through 2022 and enhances the provision to include gifts to donor-advised funds.

Preliminary reports suggest that the so-called “universal charitable deduction” is already showing signs of success in encouraging more people to give to charitable organizations. For example, the Association of Fundraising Professional’s Fundraising Effectiveness Project reports a 28% increase of $300 gifts made on December 31, 2020. Considering that $300 is the precise amount of the maximum a non-itemizer can deduct, this does not seem to be a coincidence! AFP also reports that gifts of $250 or less increased by more than 15% in 2020 compared with 2019.

The proposed inclusion of donor-advised funds as qualified recipients of universal charitable giving is an important breakthrough and recognition that donor-advised fund vehicles are powerful tools to increase effective charitable giving. Especially when paired with the expertise and resources uniquely available through the community foundation, a donor-advised fund can be a critically important component of the philanthropic strategy for an individual, family, or business.

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