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Senator Collins, Bipartisan Group Introduce Legislation to Incentivize Charitable Giving

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act to expand and extend the current deduction for charitable giving. The bill would ensure that Americans who donate to charities, houses of worship, religious organizations, and other nonprofits are able to deduct that donation from their federal taxes at a higher level than the current $300 deduction. In the COVID relief package passed in December 2020, anextension of the $300 charitable deduction was included for 2021.


The legislation is sponsored by Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and also cosponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).


Specifically, the bill would make available to taxpayers who do not itemize on their tax returns—for tax years 2021 and 2022—a below-the-line deduction for charitable giving on federal income taxes valued at up to one-third of the standard deduction (approximately $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers).


“Nonprofits in Maine and throughout the country have been going above and beyond to help those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Collins.  “By creating additional tax incentives for Americans who donate to charitable causes, this bipartisan bill would help give these dedicated organizations the support they need as we continue to combat this public health and economic crisis.”


The bill is supported by several nonprofit organizations including the Maine Association of Nonprofits, the National Council of Nonprofits, the Charitable Giving Coalition, the Faith and Giving Coalition, United Way Worldwide, and the Philanthropy Roundtable.


“Before the pandemic, nonprofits were integral to the economy of the state, reducing costs to government by providing essential services and helping individuals and businesses through trainings, childcare, cultural activities and more. Since the start of the pandemic, nonprofits have immediately leapt into action and not let up, meeting increasing demands with fewer resources. The Maine Association of Nonprofits endorses the creation of the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act because it will enable all Americans to support the vital work of charitable organizations in helping their neighbors and communities as our nation recovers. We thank Senator Collins for her leadership and recognition of the role nonprofits play in the lives of Maine people,” said Jennifer Hutchins, Executive Director, Maine Association of Nonprofits.


“Throughout the pandemic, all Americans have watched charitable nonprofits repeatedly rise to meet their communities’ challenges by providing support and relief to the people who need it most. We are proud to endorse the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act because it will enable all Americans to support the vital work of charitable organizations in helping their neighbors and communities as our nation recovers,” said Tim Delaney, President and CEO, National Council of Nonprofits.


“The Philanthropy Roundtable supports the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act. In a time of national crisis, charitable organizations are facing increased needs and fundraising challenges,” said Elise Westhoff, CEO, The Philanthropy Roundtable. “This bill would encourage all Americans, including those who do not itemize on their tax returns to continue stepping forward to support our vibrant charitable sector at this crucial time.” 


“Americans are a generous people. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, our tax code should encourage even greater charitable giving to uplift our communities. Charities do essential work for the common good--feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, educating our children, healing the sick, and nurturing the human spirit. We shouldn’t tax the money that people give to meet the needs of others,”said Galen Carey, Vice President of Government Relations, National Association of Evangelicals.