Senator Scott, Colleagues Lead Push to Incentivize Charitable Giving

WASHINGTON – Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.) introduced the bipartisan 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.

“Nonprofits, charities, and houses of worship all across South Carolina and the nation have filled the void that many communities developed during the pandemic,” said Senator Scott. “They have been the hands and feet of their neighborhoods, going into places that need aid the most. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic and Recovery Act to ensure those who have helped these organizations give back are not taxed on their generosity.” 

Senator Scott has been fighting on behalf of charitable organizations throughout the pandemic. In previous tax and COVID relief packages, he secured provisions to extend and increase charitable giving deductions and ensure nonprofits and houses of worship are eligible for loans through the Payment Protection Program.

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 (around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers).

The Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act is supported by several nonprofits including Together SC, National Council of Nonprofits, Charitable Giving Coalition, The Philanthropy Roundtable, Faith and Giving Coalition, United Way Worldwide, National Philanthropic Trust, Association of Art Museum Directors, The Nonprofit Alliance, Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Alliance for Strong Families and Communities, American Red Cross, National Association of Evangelicals, Philanthropy Southwest, Council on Foundations, Independent Sector.

Madeleine McGee, President and CEO of Together SC said, “The pandemic and economic slowdown dual crises have tested the resilience of South Carolina nonprofit like nothing any of us has experienced in our lifetimes. For most nonprofits in our state, demand for services has and costs have risen, yet revenues have fallen drastically to unsustainable levels. When the results of a Together SC survey of 4,000 nonprofits become available next week, we’ll know exactly how challenging the past year has been and what the future looks like. We already know, however, that the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act, introduced today by Senator Tim Scott and others, goes directly to the problem of declining revenues and will be a welcome tool to encourage additional giving by our state’s generous donors. Together SC, the statewide association of nonprofits, enthusiastically endorses this legislation and thanks Senator Scott for his ongoing support for the nonprofits that help make our state great.”

“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.

“Incentivizing all taxpayers to give to charity – regardless of their income or whether they itemize – ensures that nonprofits doing critical work in our communities will receive the resources necessary to help as many Americans as possible. The bipartisan and bicameral introduction of the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act signals Congress’ recognition of the importance of expanding the universal charitable deduction and therefore driving more donations to organizations when they need it most. The Charitable Giving Coalition applauds Senator Scott and his colleagues for their leadership on the issue, and we look forward to working with Congress to enhance charitable giving,” said Brian Flahaven, chair of the Charitable Giving Coalition.

“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 of 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.” 

“The Faith & Giving Coalition supports the introduction of the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act. We are grateful to Senator Lankford and his colleagues for their continued leadership to ensure that the charitable deduction’s benefits and incentives are available to all taxpayers – not just the wealthy. Most important, the Act would stimulate the increased giving that is desperately needed to help hurting individuals and communities across America recover well from the pandemic,” said Brian W. Walsh, Executive Director, Faith & Giving Coalition.

“United Way is appreciative of Senator Lankford’s reintroduction of the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act. The health and economic crises which have arisen due to COVID-19 will have far-reaching implications on our communities, and this legislation is a crucial step in enabling charitable organizations to address both the short- and long-term needs of Americans,” said Suzanne McCormick, US President of United Way Worldwide.