Lobbying Tactics on Postal Issue Splits Nonprofits

The executive director of an association that successfully persuaded a powerful Congressman to commit to preserving discount postage rates for nonprofits lashed out Friday against Independent Sector for formally asking the representative to maintain that position.

Independent Sector and eight of the 600 nonprofits it represents sent a letter on Tuesday to Rep. Darrell Issa requesting his support for the discount rate when he reintroduces legislation for a massive overhaul of the United States Po…


Nonprofits Urge Congress to Preserve Discount Postal Rates

Independent Sector and eight other groups asked a powerful Congressional committee Tuesday to preserve discount postage rates for nonprofits as it drafts legislation to change how the U.S. Postal Service works.

The Postal Reform Act of 2011 had proposed eliminating the nonprofit discount, which cost the postal service about $1.3-billion in 2011.  The provision was removed last year during Congressional negotiations, but the comprehensive postal bill died. It is expected to be considered again t…


Boustany Reappointed Head of House Nonprofit Oversight Panel

Rep. Charles Boustany—a Louisiana Republican who started holding a series of hearings on nonprofit issues last year—has been reappointed chairman of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee.

The announcement was made today by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax-exempt organizations.

Mr. Boustany was re-elected to Congress after winning a runoff election last month that was required by state law because no candidate had won a majority of…


How the NAACP Activates Young People for Advocacy

Benjamin Jealous, chief executive of the NAACP, says advocacy organizations too often ignore young people—missing an opportunity to inspire the very supporters who might become most active in promoting a cause.

But Mr. Jealous says his organization has decided to make young people a priority, in part by asking them what they are most passionate about changing in the world and showing them how they can channel frustration about what’s wrong into positive action.

“Listen to them first, find out wh…


Fiscal-Cliff Tax Deal Expected to Boost Charitable Giving

The income-tax provisions adopted by Congress to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff” will increase charitable giving by an estimated 1.3 percent, or $3.3-billion, in 2013, according to a new Urban Institute analysis.

The boost will come mainly from the decision to increase the top tax bracket from 35 percent to 39.6 percent on income above $400,000 for individuals ($450,000 for married couples), the institute said.

Because the charitable deduction is tied to a person’s tax bracket, those donors …


Fiscal Cliff Deal Could Hurt Charitable Giving

Legislation the Congress passed Tuesday to avoid the fiscal cliff limits how much wealthy people can claim in deductions for charitable contributions and other spending when they itemize their tax returns.

The legislation raises the top tax rate to 39.6 percent on household incomes above $450,000 but maintains current rates for everyone else, or about 98 percent of all Americans. It also delays for two months the $110-billion in federal spending cuts scheduled for 2013.

Throughout December nonpr…


Nonprofits Fight Obama Call to Curb Charitable Deduction

President Obama’s plan to allow donors to get tax savings of up to 35 percent on their charitable donations may look like an early Christmas gift to nonprofits that have been aggressively lobbying to protect the tax break from any limits. [Editor's note: the previous sentence and other phrases throughout this article have been revised to more precisely describe the Obama plan.]

But to many charity leaders, that proposal, part of the president’s overall $1.2-trillion budget plan presented to Repu…


Obama Plan Would Spare Charitable Deduction

Nonprofits seeking to protect charitable deductions may have won at least one victory: President Obama’s budget proposal given to Republicans on Monday appeared to single out the charitable deduction for a more-generous write-off by the wealthy than mortgage interest, state taxes, or other tax breaks.

Republicans rebuffed the president’s overall proposal on Tuesday in the continuing back-and-forth of “fiscal cliff” negotiations. But nonprofit leaders were abuzz with the prospect that their coord…


Independent Sector Defends Charitable Deduction

Politico, a newspaper widely circulated in Washington, published a two-page ad from Independent Sector on Monday that provided a straightforward message to Congress and President Obama: “Don’t push charities over the fiscal cliff.”

The ad, signed by 945 organizations, urges Congress and the president to “preserve the charitable deduction’s powerful incentive for giving” as they negotiate a deal to avert tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to begin January 2.

“Since 1917, our nation’s tax s…


Charities Would Lose $10-Billion Under Tax Cap, White House Says

President Obama won’ t support an annual limit on deductions, including those for charitable giving, as the White House issued an estimate that such a break would cost charities at least $10-billion a year.

That will come as a relief to nonprofit leaders who say such limits are essentially the same as ending charitable deductions.

Advocates of a cap have said that it could raise $1-trillion over 10 years, the same sum that would come from allowing Bush-era tax cuts to expire, as the Obama admini…