July 2020 Federal News of Note
New Bill Would Expand Above-the-Line, Universal Charitable Deduction
A bipartisan group of senators and representatives have introduced the Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act (S. 4032, H.R. 7324), legislation that would expand the temporary above-the-line charitable deduction included in the CARES Act.
The Senate bill (S. 4032) was introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). On the House side, Reps. Mark Walker (R-NC) and Chris Pappas (D-NH) have introduced a companion bill (H.R. 7324).
The bipartisan, bicameral legislation would build on the temporary, universal charitable deduction, included in the CARES Act, that allows non-itemizing taxpayers to deduct up to $300 in cash gifts for 2020. Previously, only itemizing taxpayers, roughly 10% of taxpayers, could deduct charitable gifts.
If enacted, the legislation would raise the cap to one-third of the standard deduction, about $4,000 for individuals and $8,000 for couples. It would also extend the availability of the deduction to the 2019 tax year, as well as 2020, and allow all taxpayers (itemizers and non-itemizers) making donations between December 31, 2019 and July 15, 2020 to claim those gifts on their 2019 tax filings.
CASE strongly supports this legislation and has continued to work closely with the Charitable Giving Coalition to strengthen charitable giving incentives to encourage more giving to educational institutions during the COVID-19 crisis. See statement from CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham.
CASE is currently working with our partners in the charitable sector to build support for S. 4032 and H.R. 7324. We hope to see the bill included in the next COVID-19 relief package that Congress is expected to consider in the coming weeks. We encourage you to ask your Members of Congress to sign on as co-sponsors of the bill.
U.S. Department of Education Launches New Foreign Gift Reporting System, Reporting Deadline is July 31, 2020
On June 22, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the implementation of a new online reporting system through which institutions must submit their Section 117 foreign gift information.
Under current law, U.S. colleges and universities that receive charitable gifts from a foreign source, the value of which is $250,000 or more within a calendar year, must file a disclosure report with the Department. See the Department’s fact sheet to understand what information must be reported.
As a reminder, reports are due on July 31, 2020. Institutions must submit their foreign gift reports using the new online portal at https://partners.ed.gov/ForeignGifts.
As the Department continues to investigate college and university compliance with reporting requirements on foreign gifts and contracts, a bipartisan group of Senators have introduced legislation that would lower the foreign gift reporting threshold for U.S. colleges and universities receiving foreign gifts from $250,000 to $50,000, and give the Department authority to fine institutions that fail to properly report these gifts. It remains unclear if and when this legislation will move forward. To stay updated on the latest legislative and regulatory updates, visit CASE’s Foreign Gift Reporting web page and join the CASE Advocacy Network.
The Trump Administration Rescinds Guidance for International Students Studying in the U.S.
On July 14, 2020, the Trump administration announced that it would withdraw a directive issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on July 6 restricting international students who attend U.S. schools, colleges, and universities from remaining in the country if their institutions move to online-only instruction in the fall. The guidance also required institutions to inform ICE by July 15 if their academic programs will operate entirely online.
See statement by CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham.
The government’s reversal of the policy follows efforts led by the higher education community urging DHS to reconsider the guidance, in addition to lawsuits filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
CASE joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and other higher education organizations to submit an amicus brief requesting the Court to consider the directive’s disruptive implications on higher education. Earlier, CASE also joined ACE in a letter to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf to rescind the guidance and grant flexibility to institutions and international students during the global pandemic.
For more information and the latest developments, join the CASE Advocacy Network.