Walk into the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service, which faces Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., and inscribed above the main entrance are the words of Oliver Wendell Holmes:
TAXES ARE WHAT WE PAY FOR A CIVILIZED SOCIETY
Right now on Capitol Hill, there’s a pitched battle going on over changes to those taxes we pay, and at the moment there are more questions than answers about what reform will look like when the dust settles. Who will pay more? Who will pay less? What deductions will remain? Lobbyists for the housing industry are fighting to save deductions for mortgage interest and property tax. Many lawmakers from high tax states, including New Jersey and New York, are working to preserve the deductions for state and local taxes. And the nonprofit sector is concerned about what will happen to charitable contributions. The fear isn’t so much that the deduction itself will go away. Rather, if the tax code is changed so that far more taxpayers take the standard deduction instead of itemizing, they will no longer have the added incentive of a charitable tax deduction to consider when making a donation.
A lot still has to happen before we know what the final changes will look like. The House needs to pass its bill, and the Senate has to approve its plan, then the two must be reconciled.
In the meantime, we’re keeping up with the news and analysis, especially as the process relates to charities. The Chronicle of Philanthropy is a great source of updates on a national level, and the Center for Nonprofits has its finger on the pulse for New Jersey organizations in particular. The NonProfit Times is another good place to find up-to-date information on the topic.
Incidentally, the Center for Nonprofits is holding its annual nonprofit conference on Wednesday, December 6th, and we look forward to being there and are proud to be sponsors.
Maybe the most famous quote about taxes, attributed to Benjamin Franklin, states that “In this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes.” To that we would add one more certainty: change. So, as another saying goes, Stay Tuned!