Clocking in at 503 pages, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reported out of Conference Committee on December 15 is expected to be voted on by the House and Senate this week and presented to President Trump for his signature by December 22. While it is still possible that changes to the bill could be made at this late date, or that it might be delayed or not pass at all, it appears highly likely that it will pass as is before the end of this week. In the discussion below, we review the particulars of the law that are of most interest to fundraisers, as well as some provisions of interest to fundraisers that did not make it into the Conference version or made it in in altered form.
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.
As noted in the March eRate, Michigan revised its tax law to provide for withholding of Michigan income taxes from pension and annuity payments, effective January 1, 2012. While the revision did not specifically mention gift annuities, it did appear that in certain circumstances they could be subject to the withholding requirement.
Last month I presented a Webinar on taxation basics for gift planners. Somewhat to my own surprise, when I was preparing the accompanying paper, I found myself covering the topic of income in respect of a decedent (IRD) in the same section as the topic of estate taxes. It’s now several weeks later, and I remain convinced I made the right choice.