CASE Statement on Tax Reform Conference Agreement
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.
CASE—the Council for Advancement and Support of Education—is a global, not-for-profit membership association with a vision to advance education to transform lives and society.
CASE is the home for advancement professionals, inspiring, challenging, and equipping them to act effectively and with integrity to champion the success of their institutions. CASE defines the competencies and standards for the profession of advancement, leading, and championing their dissemination and application with more than 97,000 advancement professionals at 3,100 member institutions in 80 countries.
Broad and growing communities of professionals gather under the global CASE umbrella. Currently these include alumni relations, development services, communications, fundraising, government relations, and marketing. These professionals are at all stages of their careers and may be working in universities, schools, colleges, cultural institutions, or other not-for-profits. CASE uses the intellectual capital and professional talents of a community of international volunteers to advance its work, and its membership includes many educational partners who work closely with the educational sector.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., CASE works across all continents from its regional offices in London, Singapore, and Mexico City to achieve a seamless experience for all its stakeholders, particularly its members, volunteers, and staff.