JFNA lauds Obama on charitable deduction backtrack

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Jewish Federations of North America commended the Obama administration for maintaining the deductibility rate of charitable donations.

In a Feb. 6 news release, the JFNA said that it wrote a Jan. 30 letter to White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew in response to the Obama administration’s announcement in its “Blueprint for an America Built to Last” following President Obama’s State of the Union address. 

In the proposal, the administration emphasized that it would work to ensure that any tax reform would be “implemented in a way that is equitable, including not disadvantaging individuals who make large charitable contributions.” 

According to the JFNA statement, the policy shift “represents a change in the administration’s previous proposals over the past three years that would have limited the tax benefits for itemized deductions, including charitable contributions, for wealthy taxpayers.”

Previously, the Obama administration embraced proposals that would institute a cap on the deductibility rate of charitable contributions at 28 percent, a move that the JFNA and other major Jewish organizations opposed because it would create disincentives for charitable giving. The cap now is at 35 percent.

In the letter to Lew, William Daroff, vice president for public policy and director of the Washington office of JFNA, said that “we are especially gratified that the Obama Administration now agrees that any fundamental tax reform should not create disincentives to charitable giving by reducing the tax deductibility of charitable contributions.”

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