May 14, 2020
Under the CARES Act, taxpayers who do not itemize deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, are allowed to take up to a $300 above-the-line charitable deduction for cash gifts to qualified charities. There is no requirement that these charitable gifts be paid only to charities working directly with coronavirus relief, so donors may give to a wide variety of charities. Additionally, the CARES Act does not include a sunset for this provision, so the deduction is available indefinitely.
Despite this welcome tax incentive, the nonprofit sector and some legislators are already pushing for an expansion and are hoping to take advantage of the momentum and good will toward the charitable sector. On April 10, 2020, Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) introduced the Coronavirus Help And Response Initiative Through Year 2022 Act or the CHARITY 2022 Act, which would increase the $300 deduction to a maximum of one-third of the standard deduction (generally $4000 for individuals or $8000 for married filing jointly). This bill has received bipartisan support in Congress. Other ideas intended to expand charitable giving incentives include providing a retroactive deduction and eliminating the exclusions for gifts to donor advised funds and supporting organizations. The Council is following these efforts closely.
For more information about the $300 above-the-line deduction, visit the Council’s Comprehensive Coronavirus Legislation Guide for the Charitable Sector.