International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

biguous, allowing agency administrators to exercise broad discretion in interpreting statutes or the intent of Congress, or should the courts take the responsibility of interpreting vague statutes?

Despite considerable noncompliance with the Chevron doctrine by the lower courts, at least the Supreme Court in the 1990s has continued to uphold the wisdom of Chevron. In Pauley v. Bethenergy Miner, Inc., 111 S. Ct. 2524 ( 1991) the Supreme Court argued that Chevron should be followed because the judiciary should play a very limited role in making public policies and interpreting statutes is very much a part of the public policymaking process that Congress reserved for public agencies, not the courts. Specifically citing Chevron, the Court summarized its position on deference: "Judicial deference to an agency's interpretation of ambiguous provisions of the statutes it is authorized to implement reflects a sensitivity to the proper roles of the political and Judicial branches . . . '[F]ederal judges-who have no constituency-have a duty to respect legitimate policy choices made by those who do'). . . . As Chevron itself illustrates, the resolution of ambiguity in a statutory text is often more a question of policy than of law. . . . When Congress, through express delegation or the introduction of an administrative gap in the statutory structure, has delegated policymaking authority to an administrative agency, the extent of judicial review of the agency's policy determination is limited" (at 253).

But what perplexes so many about the reasoning in Chevron is that it is also true that "the resolution of ambiguity in a statutory text" is often more a question of law than of policy. This makes applying Chevron difficult for some judges, especially those who are predisposed to thinking that it is more up to the courts to interpret ambiguous statutes because, after all, what are the courts for?

KENNETH F. WARREN


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Schwartz, Bernard, 1980. "Administrative Law Cases During 1979", Administrative Law Review, vol. 32 (Summer).

Warren, Kenneth F., 1996. Administrative Law in the American System, 3d ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

DEFERRED GIVING. A binding legal arrangement whereby a charity receives a contribution after a period of time, usually after a fixed number of years or upon the death of an individual. It is also referred to as a "planned gift."


Overview

Wealthy donors in the United States often make deferred gifts, partly because they are granted very favorable tax benefits. Deferred gifts are much less common in the rest of the world, possibly because they do not qualify for such tax benefits (see charitable contributions).

Most deferred gifts pay income to a donor over the donor's life and then distribute the remaining assets to a charity upon the donor's death. Since a portion of the property is used for noncharitable purposes, there is only a partial charitable tax deduction: the present value of the remainder interest that will pass to charity. For example, a donor can deposit $100,000 into an eligible charitable deferred giving arrangement and may be able to claim an immediate income tax deduction for $40,000, assuming that is the present value of the remainder interest that will pass to charity.


Eligible Deferred Giving Arrangements

A deferred giving arrangement must be carefully structured because the tax laws generally prohibit a tax deduction for a gift of a "partial interest in property" to a charity. For example, no deduction is allowed for a contribution to an ordinary trust that will pay income to an individual and then will distribute the remainder interest to a charity. Congress concluded in 1969 that the trustees of such trusts had too much discretion to favor the noncharitable beneficiaries over the charitable ones. It therefore limited the range of tax-deductible deferred giving arrangements to a few situations that give trustees much less discretion.

The principal deferred giving arrangements that qualify for an immediate income, gift or estate tax charitable deduction under current law are:

Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust. A tax-exempt trust that pays a fixed dollar amount (at least 5 percent of the value of the property contributed to the trust) each year to one or more income beneficiaries for life (or for a fixed term of years-maximum 20), after which the remaining proceeds are distributed to one or more charitable organizations.

Charitable Remainder Unitrust. A tax-exempt trust that pays a fixed percentage (at least 5 percent) of the value of the trust's assets each year (as valued at the beginning of each year) to one or more income beneficiaries for life (or for a fixed term of years-maximum 20), after which the remaining proceeds are distributed to one or more charitable organizations.

Charitable Remainder Net-Income Unitrust. A tax-exempt trust that pays the lesser of that year's net income or a fixed percentage (at least 5 percent) of the value of the trust's assets each year (as valued at the beginning of each year) to one or more income beneficiaries for life (or for a fixed term of years-maximum 20), after which the remaining proceeds are distributed to one or more charitable organizations. The trust instrument may contain a "make-up" provision for years when net income is less than the stated

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International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2
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