Weekly Column: Support Charitable Giving

In Idaho, charities stepped up to serve Idahoans when they needed it most during the darkest days of the pandemic. The nonprofit sector has adapted incredibly well to the COVID-19 situation, often fulfilling its missions with fewer resources and volunteers or even canceled events, while ensuring that the communities it serves were helped. But COVID-related responses aren’t the only ones mentioned. Whether responding to a natural disaster, food insecurity, or providing mental health services, nonprofits across the country have done tremendous work. They deserve our thanks, our congratulations and our commitment to continue supporting them.

According to a 2021 report by the Giving USA Foundation, charitable giving in the United States topped $470 billion in 2020, an increase of 5% from 2019. The vast majority of giving comes from individuals, but contributions and impacts of corporations, foundations and even estates cannot be overlooked. While the data on charitable giving is encouraging, more can be done to encourage giving to go ahead.

Charitable donations and related tax incentives are inextricably linked. The US Senate Finance Committee, on which I sit as a Republican ranking member, has been examining the current state of charitable giving, various charitable tax incentives, and trends in charitable giving over the past few years. Fellow finance committee members Senators James Lankford (R-Oklahoma), Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nevada) are among those leading efforts to craft legislation to help increase charitable giving.

As the Senate committee tasked with reviewing changes to the tax code, the Senate Finance Committee has an obligation to look forward and pay attention to changes in the charitable giving landscape. For example, the growing importance of crowdfunding and the rise of digital assets present challenges and opportunities for the nonprofit sector. Educational efforts to encourage more donations are also an important aspect. It is essential that we reflect on these questions and ensure that we are proactive in the face of new developments and trends on the horizon. As the Senate Finance Committee discusses these matters, I have sought additional information on related matters, including:

  • the overall health of the nonprofit sector since March 2020;
  • the importance of giving through retirement accounts;
  • any donation issues related to the pandemic;
  • priorities for supporting charities in legislation and through policy efforts; and
  • challenges related to the expansion of tax incentives for charitable donations.

The people of Idaho give so much of their time and resources, often quietly, and it makes a tremendous difference in countless lives. I look forward to continuing to responsibly encourage giving, which seems to be a way of life for so many Idahoans.

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