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Universal Charitable Deduction


The Universal Charitable Deduction, which expired at the end of 2021 is at risk of NOT being renewed for 2022. We don’t want to lose this important incentive for donating to nonprofits.

Now (before the end of this lame-duck session) is the time to call your Senators (find their phone number here). Tell them this: I care about the Universal Charitable Deduction. It is an important incentive for charitable giving that makes a difference. Please enact the Tax Extenders Bill BEFORE the lame duck session ends. It’s vital to American charities! 

And then ask: Does the Senator have a stand on this issue? Can we count on him/her to push this forward?

Your quick call will make a HUGE difference on our ability to protect this crucial priority for the nonprofit sector! And after your call, just send Mark Micali, Vice President Government Affairs ( a quick email as to how it went.

Charitable Deductions: What is the issue?

Taxpayers are able to deduct from their taxable income the amount of charitable donations they made to nonprofit 501(c)3 organizations, and in this way, lower their overall tax liability. (See the sidebar for definitions of a few key terms.)

As a general rule of thumb, charitable contributions can only be a deducted if you itemize your personal deductions, instead of taking the standard deduction. If you don’t itemize, you don’t get the benefit.  The idea of a Universal Charitable Deduction allows people to deduct charitable contributions up to a maximum amount, regardless of their level of income and regardless of whether they itemize or take the standard deduction.

Why do nonprofits care?

The ability for individuals to deduct charitable donations from their tax liability acts as an incentive to charitable giving and encourages the flow of financial resources to support the work of nonprofits.  

When a larger standard deduction went into effect in 2018, fewer people itemized (because people itemize only when itemizing would result in a deduction larger than the standard deduction), and thus fewer people were eligible for the tax incentive of giving.

What is the Ideal Policy?

The Nonprofit Alliance calls on Congress to make the Universal Charitable Deduction a permanent provision in the Tax Code AND to increase the $600 married/$300 single taxpayer cap on the universal charitable deduction. 

What is the current situation?

The enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 effectively doubled the Standard Deduction to $12,000 for individual taxpayers and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. 

This change in the Standard Deduction reduced the number of taxpayers itemizing—and thus being able to claim a deduction for charitable contributions—from approximately 30% of all taxpayers to just 12% of taxpayers. In effect, that means now only 12% of taxpayers receive a benefit for making a charitable contribution, while 88% receive no benefit at all. 

In March of 2020, the $2.2 trillion CARES Act of 2020 was signed into law, including a universal charitable deduction of $300 per taxpayer (regardless of whether filing as an individual or married) for the tax year 2020. 

Then in December of 2020, the $900 billion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 was signed into law, which included an increase for 2021in the universal charitable deduction to $600 for married couples filing jointly, while maintaining the deduction at $300 for single taxpayers.

TNPA was a leading voice in the effort  to enact this important deduction. 

What to Keep an Eye On?

The current Universal Charitable Deduction of $600 for married couples filing jointly and $300 for individual taxpayers expired at year-end: December 31, 2021. However, we anticipate that later this year Congress will reinstate the deduction for all of tax year 2022. The Universal Charitable Deduction will likely be included in a package of tax provisions, a so-called package of “tax extenders.”

Also, in March 2021, a bipartisan and bicameral group of lawmakers introduced the Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act (S. 618, H.R. 1704) that would raise the $300/$600 cap on the Universal Charitable Deduction to roughly $4,000 for individuals/$8,000 for married couples, extend the availability of the deduction to the 2022 tax year, and importantly, eliminate the current exclusion of gifts to Donor Advised Funds (DAFs).

The Senate Bill, S. 618 was introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE) and now has a total of 19 senators signed on to the bill. The House Bill, H.R. 1704, was introduced by Congressman Chris Pappas (D-NH) and has a total of 26 representatives who have signed on to the bill.

Who are key players?


  • James Lankford (R-OK)
  • Chris Coons (D-DE)
  • Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • John Boozman (R-AR)
  • Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
  • Robert Casey (D-PA)
  • Susan Collins (R-ME)
  • Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
  • Maggie Hassan (D-NH)
  • John Hoeven (R-ND)
  • James Inhofe (R-OK)
  • Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
  • Mike Lee (R-UT)
  • Gary Peters (D-MI) 
  • Marco Rubio (R-FL)
  • Tim Scott (R-SC)
  • Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)
  • Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
  • Raphael Warnock (D-GA)


  • Chris Pappas (D-NH)
  • Brian Fitzpatrck (R-PA)


Deductions: A tax deduction is a deduction that lowers a person or organization’s tax liability by lowering their taxable income. Deductions are typically expenses that the taxpayer incurs during the year that can be applied against or subtracted from their gross income in order to figure out how much tax is owed. (investopedia)

Standard Deductions: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) standard deduction is the portion of income not subject to tax that can be used to reduce your tax bill. You can take the standard deduction only if you do not itemize your deductions. The amount of the standard deduction is based on several factors including your filing status and age.

Charitable Deductions: Donations to 501(c)(3) nonprofits are tax-deductible. When you make a contribution (and receive nothing in return) to an organization that has been designated as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS, you are eligible for a deduction when you file your taxes.

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