About CASE

Pam Russell
Senior Director of Communications


For Immediate Release
December 19, 2017

CASE Statement on Tax Reform Conference Agreement

Statement by CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham on the release of the House-Senate conference committee's agreement on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1):

While we are relieved that the House-Senate conference committee chose to preserve important education tax benefits for students and employees, access to private activity bonds and the federal estate tax, the final tax legislation will make it more difficult for colleges, universities and independent schools to raise and manage private support. For this reason, CASE cannot support H.R. 1.

We do acknowledge and appreciate that the final bill includes a provision increasing the individual percentage of income limitations for cash gifts from 50 percent to 60 percent of Adjusted Gross Income. Unfortunately, the positive impact of this provision is greatly outweighed by the negative impact that other provisions will have on giving to educational institutions and charitable organizations.

Despite clear data demonstrating that doubling the standard deduction will lead to a significant decline in charitable giving, the conference committee chose not to include a universal, or above-the-line, charitable deduction in the final bill. As a result, less than 10 percent of American taxpayers will benefit from the charitable deduction, which will translate into reduced support for student scholarships, groundbreaking research, faculty and facilities at educational institutions across the country.

Additionally, the conference committee retained an unnecessary and punitive excise tax on certain college and university endowments. There is no policy rationale for taxing the endowed charitable gifts of donors, which will only increase college costs as charitable funds are redirected away from supporting students, research and academic programs.

And while the conference committee rightly preserved the federal estate tax, the decision to double the exemption level will reduce the incentive for donors to make charitable bequests to educational institutions and other charitable organizations.

As the 100th anniversary year of the charitable deduction comes to an end, Congress has missed an opportunity through tax reform to preserve and expand a tax incentive that has contributed to a strong and vibrant charitable sector in the United States. In the coming year, we plan to urge lawmakers to enact a universal charitable deduction and other policies that encourage all Americans to give generously to educational institutions.

About CASE

CASE believes in advancing education to transform lives and society. As a global nonprofit membership association of educational institutions, CASE helps develop the communities of professional practice that build institutional resilience and success in challenging times. The communities include staff engaged in alumni relations, fundraising, marketing, student recruitment, stakeholder engagement, crisis communications and government relations. CASE is volunteer-led and uses the intellectual capital of senior practitioners to build capacity and capability across the world.

CASE has offices in Washington, D.C., London, Singapore and Mexico City. Member institutions include more than 3,700 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools, and nonprofit organizations in 82 countries. CASE serves nearly 88,000 practitioners. For more information about CASE, please visit www.case.org.