FPN Urges Senators to Pass the “America Gives More Act”

When senators return to Washington next week after their August recess, they have an opportunity to help charitable organizations with their critical work in communities. By passing the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719), the Senate can help grow philanthropy at a time when the charitable sector is being asked to do more to help those in need.

Even though we’re heading into fall elections, which tends to make legislators more cautious, and despite an increasingly polarized environment in Washington, you’d be hard pressed to find a piece of legislation that is less controversial or that has stronger support on both sides of the aisle. That is why the House passed the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) by a strong bipartisan majority in July. Florida Philanthropic Network urges the Senate to do the same this fall.

The America Gives More Act includes five important provisions that will encourage more charitable giving to help people and communities throughout Florida:

  • Permanently reinstate the IRA charitable rollover, which encourages individuals to donate retirement account assets directly to a public charity without incurring a tax liability on the donation. We know firsthand from our community foundation members and others that the IRA charitable rollover makes a difference in growing philanthropy in our state.
  • Simplify the private foundation excise tax to a single rate of 1 percent. This measure will lift an administrative burden that can create a perverse incentive for private foundations to give less, not more, in times of need, such as when disasters strikes.
  • Permanently reinstate the IRA charitable rollover, which encourages individuals to donate retirement account assets directly to a public charity without incurring a tax liability on the donation. We know firsthand from our community foundation members and others that the IRA charitable rollover makes a difference in growing philanthropy in our state.
  • Permanently reinstate the enhanced deduction for donations of conservation easements, which incentivizes landowners to preserve the natural resources on their properties.
  • Extend the deadline for claiming charitable donations on the previous year’s tax filing through April 15. This would provide a natural time for people to make financial decisions in a comprehensive way.

The IRA charitable rollover, along with the enhanced deductions for food contributions and conservation easement donations, have been passed, expired and extended several times in the past decade. The practice of extending these provisions at the eleventh hour – or later – chills these charitable activities. With certainty, donors can plan in advance and contributions will increase.

Florida Philanthropic Network and many of our members have contacted Florida Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to urge them to request that Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell bring the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719) to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as the Senate reconvenes next week, and to support the legislation when it’s brought up for a vote. This is an urgent opportunity to catalyze more giving to support vital charitable activity in our state.

– David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network

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