This legislation includes several important provisions that will help charitable and philanthropic organizations serving communities in every Congressional District across the country. Specifically, H.R. 644 would permanently enact three temporary and currently expired giving incentives – the IRA charitable rollover and enhanced incentives for the donations of food inventory and land conservation easements. The measure also simplifies the excise tax rate on private foundation investment income.
After multiple attempts in the House last year to make these giving incentives permanent, Congress in December resorted to a short-term extension as part of a broader package of lapsed tax provisions. As a result, the IRA charitable rollover and enhanced deductions for the donation of food inventory and land conservation easements were reinstated for just two weeks, before expiring again for the fifth time in recent years on January 1, 2015.
While this may be an adequate solution for many provisions in the extenders package, these charitable provisions are different. For each day that goes by without an incentive in place and assured, many of the donations the incentives were intended to promote will simply not take place. The time to plan and execute the contributions will have already passed by. The repeated expiration and retroactive renewal of these charitable giving incentives create tremendous uncertainty for individuals and families who want to provide donations to help their communities.
The charitable giving incentives being considered by the House have encouraged individuals and businesses to actively support the development and sustainability of our society. They have spurred contributions, for example, to feed the hungry, build health centers, develop counseling programs for at-risk youth, conserve land, and offer art therapy for people with developmental disabilities.
The time to reinstate and make permanent these provisions is now, as America’s charities and foundations shoulder increased responsibility in the face of declining government spending on a range of programs and services. Strong bipartisan support from the House of Representatives for H.R. 644 will underscore our nation’s long-standing commitment to strengthening charities to do the important work of lifting up lives and improving communities.