Remember when planned giving called the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) the charitable IRA rollover? Remember when we didn’t know if we could ask donors to make such gifts until the last minute each year? The Internal Revenue Code defined the concept of a charitable IRA rollover as a QCD when the legislation passed all the way back to 2006. The QCD was part of a package of tax extenders that expired every December 31 unless reinstated by Congress. There were years of waiting and waiting for reinstatement of the extenders package. IRA administrators weren’t sure what to do with the QCD and planned givers kept referring to this as the charitable IRA rollover. All that changed in 2015 with the passage of the PATH Act. That legislation made the QCD permanent law and while the expression “charitable IRA rollover” still remains in some marketing materials as a synonym, it is used less often to avoid confusion.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the Tax Act) doubled the standard deduction and capped deductions on state and local taxes at $10,000, while retaining the income tax charitable deduction. The doubling of the standard deduction and capping state and local taxes means far fewer taxpayers will itemize their deductions on Schedule A of Form 1040. Fewer itemizers will mean fewer people benefiting from the itemization of their charitable deductions. The Council on Foundations is predicting a drop of $16B - $24B in charitable giving off a base of $390B. That’s about a 5% drop. A study by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy projects a potential decline in charitable giving of 1.7% to 4.6%.
The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners (CGP) created a task force charged with defining metrics to evaluate the work of gift planning fundraisers and to develop guidelines for criteria to measure the performance of planned giving programs. The task force has not issued its final report, but we have some feedback on their likely recommendations. Best practice performance metrics will provide a basis for evaluating the success of a charity’s planned giving efforts.
The Republican leadership on Wednesday September 27, 2017 released a framework for proposed tax reforms for consideration by Congress. While the framework proposes retaining the income tax charitable deduction, it also proposes nearly doubling the standard deduction. Reducing the number of itemizers arguably reduces charitable contributions without the incentive of itemized charitable gifts. Nonetheless, giving is motivated by more than just tax incentives. It remains to be seen how decreasing the number of itemizers might affect charitable giving.
The Trump administration has announced a tax plan for Congressional consideration. The plan features reduction of personal and corporate income tax rates including taxes on pass-through business entities such as S corporations, compression of the number of tax brackets from seven to three and an increase in the standard deduction. Personal income tax rates are reduced to 10%, 25%, and 35% brackets. This proposal eliminates the deduction for state and local income taxes but the income tax charitable deduction remains.