Will Universal Charitable Deduction Get Another Bite at the Apple?


A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has introduced legislation to expand and extend the non-itemized deduction for charitable giving. Dubbed the Charitable Act, the bill would increase the previous $300 deduction permitted in 2020 and 2021 (or $600 for married couples filing jointly in 2021). The bill would allow taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions to claim a “below-the-line” deduction for charitable contributions, up to one-third of the standard deduction.

For 2023, the year the bill would take effect, individuals could deduct about $4,500 and married joint filers could deduct approximately $9,000. What might happen if the below-the-line deduction returns? The annual Fundraising Effectiveness Survey, a project of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy, reported a 15% increase in charitable gifts of $250 or more in 2020. Notably, it also found a 28% increase in $300 gifts made on December 31, 2020.

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