Shaheen & Bipartisan Group Introduce Bill Expanding Federal Tax Deduction for Charitable Giving

June 23, 2020

(Washington, DC)– U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act with a group of Senators led by James Lankford (R-OK) and including Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The bipartisan bill would expand the current above-the-line deduction for charitable giving made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was passed by Congress and signed into law in March. The legislation would also ensure that Americans who donate to charities, houses of worship, religious organizations and other nonprofits are able to deduct that donation from their federal taxes at a higher level than the current $300 deduction. The bill is based off a bipartisan amendment that Shaheen and the group of Senators offered during negotiations of the CARES Act.

Specifically, the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act would make available—for tax years 2019 and 2020—an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving on federal income taxes valued at up to one-third of the standard deduction (around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers).

“COVID-19 has once again demonstrated how important nonprofit and faith-based services are to our communities,” said Shaheen. “Since day one, nonprofit organizations have been working tirelessly to help those in need despite steep declines in donations. Congress has the power to encourage charitable giving through the tax code to make sure these organizations have the resources they need to continue their vital work and weather the financial challenges they face. I’m glad to partner with Senator Lankford and this bipartisan coalition to create an above-the-line deduction for all charitable contributions. This is a common-sense measure that Senate Leadership should act on quickly.”

“In these difficult times, nonprofit organizations are often on the frontlines – feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, providing safe places for children and elders, holding our communities together in countless ways,” said Richard Ober, President & CEO of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. “We applaud Senator Shaheen’s leadership and the support of our entire Congressional delegation in advancing this timely legislation to encourage and incentivize charitable giving.”

“Granite Staters rely on the work of nonprofits to meet critical needs in our communities,” said Kathleen Reardon, CEO of the NH Center for Nonprofits. “Nonprofits continue to rise to meet increased needs in our communities, even while they’ve lost revenue from cancelled fundraising events and programs.  We applaud Senator Shaheen and her colleagues for introducing this important legislation to support increased charitable giving.” 

Shaheen has worked to support nonprofits and charitable organizations during the COVID-19 crisis. In April, Shaheen urged Senate leadership to include additional emergency funding for nonprofit organizations in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Shaheen was a lead negotiator on the small business provisions of the CARES Act, for which certain nonprofits qualify to apply for assistance. By standing firm during negotiations and demanding a better bill, Senator Shaheen helped secure $30 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services. In March, Shaheen introduced the Supporting Charitable Institutions Act, legislation that would create a new incentive for individuals to make donations to nonprofit organizations as they respond to this public health crisis by establishing a refundable tax credit for charitable contributions. Over the course of the pandemic, Shaheen has engaged directly with leaders across the state who are responding to this public health emergency, including nonprofit service organizations and charities. Earlier this month, Shaheen participated in a bipartisan video conference with Senators Lee, Coons, Klobuchar, Lankford and a coalition of national nonprofits to call for the passage of a universal charitable deduction in upcoming COVID-19 relief legislation.