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Urban Institute
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Washington, DC 20037
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Washington, DC 20036
(202) 797-6000

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Budget Pressure and Changing the Charitable Deduction: For Better or Worse?

Friday, October 7, 2011
9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., ET 

To attend in Washington, D.C., go to:
(Registration is required.)  

“Reforming the Charitable Deduction: Evaluating the Impact”

As budgetary pressure force policymakers to look for ways to reduce the deficit, new proposals have emerged to reform—both directly and indirectly—the income tax deduction for charitable contributions. With charities already struggling from increased need and decreased giving due to the recession, it is vital to understand the effects that tax reform proposals could have on the charitable sector. This session will explore the impact of the income tax deduction on charitable giving and present new estimates of the effects of specific tax reform proposals on the charitable sector.


Jon Bakija
, Williams College

Joseph Cordes, George Washington University

Joseph Rosenberg, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

“Principles and Rationales Behind the Charitable Tax Deduction and Alternatives”

The rationales for (and against) a charitable deduction, and alternatives to a deduction, go well beyond the extent to which it increases charitable contributions.   This session will examine how various principles and rationales—including incentives, ability to pay taxes, progressivity, market-rather-than-government choice over how subsidies should be allocated—affect such choices as whether to offer a charitable deduction, credit, capped incentive, or none at all.


Elizabeth Boris
, Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Roger Colinvaux, Columbus School of Law, The Catholic University of America

Brian Galle, Boston College and Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center

Eugene Steuerle, Urban Institute

“A Conversation About the Bigger Picture: Charities in Tax Reform at the Federal and State Levels”                       

Charities as a whole or in certain subsectors remain vulnerable to tax-law changes other than to the charitable-contribution deduction. Possible changes at the federal or state level might include: targeting the income-tax exemption; curtailing demand-side subsidies or limiting itemized deductions generally; and narrowing eligibility for property-tax exemption or “requesting” payments in lieu of taxes (PILOTs).  Charities might find themselves incidentally affected by more systematic tax reform such as repealing the estate tax, lowering tax rates on individual or corporate income, or adopting income-tax credits as payroll incentives. Beyond the tax system, charities face reductions in direct government funding.


Evelyn Brody,
Chicago-Kent College of Law

Peter Dobkin Hall, Baruch College/CUNY, School of Public Affairs

Pat Read, Pat Read Consulting

William Schambra, The Hudson Institute

At the Urban Institute
2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C.
A light lunch will be provided at 12:30 p.m.

The Tax Policy and Charities project analyzes the many interactions between the tax system and the charitable sector, with special emphasis on ongoing fiscal debates at both the federal and state levels.

Our scope includes income and estate tax deductions for charitable giving; income- and property-tax exemptions for nonprofit organizations; and private foundation excise taxes, among other issues. For more information, go to the Tax Policy and Charities project page.