All posts by Lisa Chiu


Senate Hearing Puts Focus on Charitable Deduction

President Obama’s effort to limit deductions for wealthy people, including those for charitable gifts, in his jobs bill may have died last week, but charitable deductions will be front and center in a Capitol Hill hearing next week.

The Senate’s powerful Finance Committee will host a hearing next week that will discuss how some key proposals to change the federal tax code would affect nonprofits.

Testifying at the hearing will be Brian Gallagher, president of United Way Worldwide, and Dallin H. …


Price Tag for Charity Tax Break Loss: at Least $2.9-Billion

President Obama’s plan to limit the value of charitable deductions for wealthy people would cost nonprofits at least $2.9-billion and perhaps as much as $5.6-billion, according to a study to be unveiled Friday.

Economists examined how people would be affected by Mr. Obama’s plan to limit to 28 percent the amount affluent people could write off in all itemized deductions. People in the highest income bracket now can write off 35 percent of their deductions, including those for gifts to charity.



State Regulators Grapple With Best Ways to Police Social-Media Appeals

As nonprofits increasingly turn to social-media and mobile tools to raise money, charity regulators are trying to figure out the smartest ways to protect donors from fraud.

The annual gathering of state regulators who monitor charities, held in Silver Spring, Md., this week, was dominated by concerns that the explosion of social networks has created an online fund-raising culture that is akin to the wild west.

The challenge, regulators say, is that the law and the courts haven’t kept up with all…


White House and GOP Trade Charges on Charity Write-Offs

The White House says its proposal to limit the write-offs that wealthy people could claim for their charitable deductions would ultimately help nonprofits, even as opponents say the proposal would essentially amount to a “tax on soup kitchens.”

President Obama made the proposal as part of his job-creation plan, saying he would pay for the legislation by reducing the value of all itemized deductions, including housing and charitable gifts.

But the White House has faced strong criticism from nonpr…


Nonprofits Fight Proposal to Curb Charity Tax Breaks

Nonprofits are gearing up to fight President Obama’s plan to pay for his jobs bill in part by limiting charitable deductions. Mr. Obama wants to limit the amount all wealthy people can write off for charitable gifts as well as housing, medical expenses, and other items.

Nonprofit leaders say that a curb on deductions will stifle giving and that charity write-offs make up only a small percentage of  the money the federal treasury loses in deductions by the wealthy.

In 2009, 46.4 million taxpayers…


State Regulators Shine Spotlight on Social Media

As charities increasingly use social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to raise money, state regulators are looking for ways to make sure that con artists aren’t using these sites to prey on unsuspecting donors.

At this year’s annual meeting of the National Association of State Charity Officials, social media will be a hot topic.

While most of the conference, to be held in a Washington suburb, will be conducted behind closed doors, social media will be discussed in two sessions on Octo…


IRS Faces New Questions About Gift-Tax Stance

The Internal Revenue Service says it won’t comment on a demand from one of its former officials to clarify its policy on gift taxes for donors to politically oriented advocacy groups.

On Monday, as The New York Times reported, Marcus S. Owens, a Washington tax lawyer and the former head of the IRS’s tax-exempt division, sent a letter asking the tax agency to say whether it will ever enforce a gift tax on such donations. Mr. Owens says he worries the tax agency is bowing to pressure from Republi…


Nonprofits Pay for Big Ad to Influence Lawmakers

Independent Sector, the coalition of charities and foundations, took out a full-page paid advertisement today in the political newspaper Politico, urging government leaders to avoid cuts to programs that work with nonprofits and objecting to President Obama’s proposal to limit the value of the charitable deduction.

The ad was signed by 126 leaders at nonprofits, including the American Cancer Society, YMCA of the USA, the Craigslist Foundation, the League of American Orchestras, the Sierra Club…


Share Your Ideas for Improving Nonprofit Tax Returns

Independent Sector, a coalition of charities and foundations, is asking for ideas about how the Internal Revenue Service can improve the informational tax return for nonprofits, known as the Form 990.

People can submit ideas online, comment on other ideas, and vote for the best suggestion in the IS 990 Feedback Forum until July 25. The group is encouraging nonprofit employees who work in a wide arrange of areas—including those who focus on operations, finances, and legal issues—to submit ide…


Fate of Charitable Deduction Still Unclear in Debt-Ceiling Talks

Fund raisers may have seen a sign of hope when Speaker of the House John Boehner issued a statement on Saturday that he would not pursue a debt-reduction agreement that includes tax increases.

Odds are that opposition to increasing taxes would include the president’s proposal to limit charitable deductions for wealthy Americans. Last week many nonprofit leaders were worried that such a measure could be included as part of the weekend negotiations over raising the federal debt ceiling.

A spokesma…