How Would a Tax Code Overhaul Impact North Texas Charities?

SMU economist Cullum Clark talks in November 2017 about a plan presented by House Republicans that would make charitable giving still tax deductible.

By Diana Zoga

After Cyber Monday comes Giving Tuesday, part of a national call to encourage people to give to their favorite charities during the Christmas season.

At the same time, Congress is back to work trying to overhaul the U.S. Tax Code before the end of the year, and some wonder if the current plan could cost charities.

Under a plan presented by House Republicans, charitable giving is still tax deductible, but fewer people may end up using the deduction. In an effort to simplify the tax code, the standard deduction would nearly double so that fewer people would need to itemize deductions and would instead just take a standard deduction.

But if there is less of a need to itemize, would that mean fewer people would make tax-deductible donations? . . . 

At the same time, tax incentives aren't the only reason people give, which is why estimating what would happen under a new tax plan gets complicated, says Cullum Clark, director of Southern Methodist University's Economics Center.

"I think that they just fear any tampering could hurt them. Yet, I think a little bit longer historical perspective would suggest we tamper with the tax code all the time. It changes and changes and changes, and through it all, the American people have been really generous," Clark said.

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