Religious Bodies Oppose Lower Tax Deductions

Article excerpt

FOR THE third time in three years President Obama's proposed budget will attempt to reduce tax deductions for high-end charitable donors, and for the third time nonprofits and religious organizations are pushing back.

Many religious nonprofits, which supplement their budgets heavily with donations from wealthy donors, are concerned that reducing the tax write-offs for charitable donations will cause a decrease in giving, said Diana Aviv, president and CEO of Independent Sector, a coalition of nonprofit organizations.

"The question is, do tax incentives work, do they stimulate more money than they cost?" Aviv said. "Experts estimate that this proposal could reduce charitable giving by $7 billion."

Obama's proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 includes a 30 percent reduction in itemized deductions for high-income taxpayers. Individual donors making more than $200,000 or families earning more than $250,000 would be able to claim just 28 percent of any donation as a tax deduction rather than the current 35 percent.

That would mean that a wealthy taxpayer who donates $10,000 to a charity would be able to claim a deduction of only $2,800 on his taxes, rather than $3,500.

Obama has defended this reduction several times, most recently at a White House press conference on February 15. …