Recently, I sat down and looked at the Charitable Giving Reports for 2012 and 2013. As I read through the information in front of me, I noticed something I had known for some time, but I still found it interesting. December is the most successful month for charitable giving.
If you look at the giving through the months of the year, charitable giving in December is twice that given in any other month. I think this true for two reasons. First, December is holiday season for several religions. People are more generous around the holidays, and most nonprofit organizations send out year end appeals that arrive during that time, hoping to tap into that generosity. Second, for those that itemize their tax deductions, they look at their records and give to get the most of their tax advantages. This is a boon to charitable organizations and educational institutions.
This could change, if the new Congress has its way. In July of 2014, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that Congress floated the idea of extending charitable tax deductions until Tax Day, April 15, and it had a great deal of support. In December, Eugene Steuerle wrote a thoughtful opinion piece supporting this idea. What he wrote makes a great deal of sense.
Unfortunately, the bill did not make it past the Democratic controlled Senate to get submitted to President Obama. This is unfortunate, but not surprising. Since President Obama took office in 2009, he has actively tried to reduce the charitable deduction because he, his supporters, and the Democratic party believe that the government should solve the nation’s problems with taxpayer money, leaving the charitable sector out of the picture. If you have read my post, “The Charitable Deduction Conundrum,” you know I do not agree with this philosophy.
This year, both houses of Congress will be controlled by the Republican party, and there is a great deal of interest in reforming tax laws. I can only hope that Congress makes tax reform a priority this session and makes giving to nonprofits easier for those who can. Extending deductions until April 15 would do this, and it might take some of the pressure off Federal spending.