Starting in 2018, nonprofit organizations will need to consider the changes that donors will face as a result of the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) tax reform legislation. As nonprofits strive to maintain their mission and impact within the communities they serve, it will be important for them to have a solid understanding of how conversations with donors may need to change to ensure that long-time supporters remain engaged.
Surveys state that most donors give out of true altruistic motivation to support causes in which they have a personal stake or interest, not to save taxes. But getting the tax deductions that donors have grown accustomed to receiving through their philanthropic activities over the years has certainly helped maintain the steady flow of money into charitable organizations.
The TCJA could impact some of that future dollar flow, or at least alter the tax strategies through which donors might contribute to their favorite charities going forward.
The main reason behind this recent development is that the standard deduction was doubled for individuals in the new tax law, which is likely to greatly reduce the number of filers who previously itemized charitable and other deductions. Although taxpayers do not have to take the standard deduction, it is estimated that with the enactment of TCJA, only 13 million taxpayers will itemize deductions, compared with 46 million under the previous tax law.1
As a result, charities have raised the alarm that a reduction in the number of people who itemize charitable deductions would cause a decline in annual fund gifts. Tim DeLaney, president of the National Council of Nonprofits, said TCJA would “damage charitable giving by $13 billion or more annually.” A U.S. Tax Policy Center study puts the top range of impact at $20 billion.2
For non-itemizers, $100 given to charity has no impact on their taxes, but for itemizers who make around $100,000 annually, Uncle Sam gives them back approximately $25 for every additional $100 they donate. So that type of taxpayer has the ability to make a $100 contribution to his or her favorite church, school, hospital or shelter for only $75, net of taxes.
The full impact remains to be seen as we still live in the most giving nation in the world. Americans seem to have philanthropy built into their DNA and have historically taken an active interest in supporting charities no matter how the tax code reads.
There are, however, strategies to make charitable contributions tax-efficient under the new law despite the anticipated number of taxpayers who will likely take the new standard deduction rather than itemize.
For those prospective donors contemplating contributions, and for those nonprofit organizations who may have to refresh their planned giving marketing game, here are a few observations to consider:
Culture change is hard, but if history is any guide, Culture change is hard, but if history is any guide, aggregate giving totals will continue to grow – just under a new tax code. It is estimated that nearly $60 trillion will pass from older to younger generations in the next 50 years, and half of that amount is expected to be donated to charitable causes. For more information about how TCJA may impact your nonprofit organization, please feel free to contact your Commerce Institutional Service Consultant.* If you are not currently a Commerce client, but would like to discuss this topic and its impact, just email Commerce Trust’s Director of Nonprofit Services, Amy Pieper at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call this toll-free number, 800-892-7100, ext. 1-2883.
About the Author
Amy is the director of nonprofit services for Commerce Trust Company. She and her team are responsible for delivering holistic financial and advisory services that are specific to the unique needs of nonprofit agencies across Commerce Trust’s eight state geographic footprint. Amy and her team focus on understanding the unique opportunities and challenges that each nonprofit may face and then providing resources to help them meet their objectives and grow in service to the community. Prior to joining Commerce Trust in 2014, Amy acquired more than 20 years of industry experience. Amy earned her bachelor of science in business administration from University of Missouri and is a graduate of the Cannon Personal Trust School. Amy holds the designation of Certified Trust and Financial Advisor. She currently serves on the Liberty Hospital Foundation Regional Advisory Council, is trustee and secretary for the Watkins Mill Association, is a board member of Support Kansas City, and is a member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, and the Mid-America Planned Giving Council. Amy formerly served on the board of the American Heart Association, the planned giving committee of Kansas City Hospice & Palliative care, the finance committee at Church of the Annunciation and is a past-president of the Kansas City Chapter of Corporate Fiduciaries.
The 2017 investment commentary is a special report designed to provide investment information on economic markets for Commerce Brokerage clients. It is intended to provide general information only and reflects the opinions of Commerce Trust Company’s Investment Policy Committee.
Commerce Trust Company is a division of Commerce Bank. Commerce Brokerage Services, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC, and an SEC registered investment advisor, is a subsidiary of Commerce Bank.
This material is not a recommendation of any particular security, is not based on any particular financial situation or need, and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor or investment professional. The information in this commentary should not be construed as an individual recommendation of any kind. Strategies discussed here in a general manner may not be appropriate for everyone. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against all risk. Past performance is no guarantee of future results, and the opinions and other information in the investment commentary are as of February 2, 2018.
Commerce does not provide tax advice or legal advice to customers. Consult a tax specialist regarding tax implications related to any product or specific financial situation. Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed. All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice depending upon worldwide market, economic or political conditions.
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