Negotiations Continue

Negotiations Continue

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A bipartisan group of senators is hoping to use the next coronavirus relief package to chip away — in a big way — at Republicans’ efforts to curb the deduction for charitable contributions.

Back in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act effectively made that tax break obsolete by dramatically expanding the standard deduction. Today, only about 10 percent of taxpayers itemize their deductions, compared with almost a third before the tax overhaul.

But lawmakers started their chipping away process with the CARES Act, H.R. 748 (116), which included a temporary $300 above-the-line deduction for charitable gifts for those who don’t itemize.

Now, lawmakers like Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla) are hoping to get more than just their foot in the door. Or as Lankford put it on a Tuesday webcast sponsored by a host of charitable groups, including the National Council of Nonprofits: “That’s the camel’s nose under the tent — we’re going to keep pushing for more.”

And to keep that metaphor going, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) added that “it’s time to take it another couple steps into the tent.”

“It’s time to push now — to push for the expansion to one-third of the standard deduction for the tax years of 2019 and 2020,” Lee said during the webcast, while urging the charitable groups to increase their lobbying of Congress. “There has never been a better time than right now to move this policy forward.”

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