With the recent passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”), you may be thinking how this new tax law will impact your own financial giving. For this blog and to keep it simple, I will refer to this new tax law, “TCJA”, as the “2017 Tax Law” and will share several key features that impact donor financial giving. Subsequently, in future blogs between now and the end of the spring tax season (April 15th), I will share three more blogs that will cover the following topics:

  • The New Tax Law: To Itemize or Not -That is the Question (and the answer is?)
  • The New Tax Law, Hometown Nonprofits, and their Donors
  • The New Tax Law & the Opportunities for Charitable Qualified Distributions

Stay tuned! With these upcoming blogs on the 2017 Tax Law, I will share insights as to how it will impact you and your financial giving.

First off, let’s take a quick look at a few of the key features that may impact you, as financial donors and, subsequently - through your donations, the nonprofits that are important to you (nonprofits, you may want to listen up!):

Major Features of the 2017 Tax Law

First off, let’s put things in priority. While tax savings may be a consideration for your own financial giving, tax savings is typically not the primary reason for giving. Individual donors typically lead with their heart and give to the causes that are important to them due to the their emotional connection to their causes. Hence, the tax considerations (and potential savings) and addressing the practical challenges as to how, how much, when, to whom, and when to give are typically secondary considerations. With that said, let’s look - with a broad perspective - at 4 key features of the new tax law that may impact charitable giving:

The (almost) doubling of the standard deduction The elimination, limitation, or modification of many itemized deductions The increase in limit for giving as percent of income The new tax breaks and tax deduction for pass-through businesses.

Without getting into too much detail on each of these, broadly speaking, they all have an impact on donors and their financial giving.

The (almost) doubling of the standard deduction and itemized deductions changes:

The 2017 Tax Law roughly doubles the standard tax deduction to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for couples. With this increase in standard deduction, it is estimated that less taxpayers will itemize: only 5% of individuals instead of 30% according to Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Since donors typically lead with their heart, for donors that are borderline (itemize or take the standard deduction), it can be questioned just how big an impact that these changes have on charitable giving.

The increase in limit for giving as percent of income

Prior to the 2017 Tax Law, taxpayers could not deduct more than 50% of their adjusted gross income in charitable contributions. The new law increases this limit to 60% for those individuals who itemize their deductions (approximately 30% of taxpayers, currently). For most donors, they do not give any anywhere near 50 or 60% of their AGI to charity. There are exceptions though. If your are older, living on a fixed income, with a sizable portfolio, this may come into consideration. As with many financial giving choices, it is important for you to consult your professional advisor(s) for guidance.

The new tax breaks and tax deduction for pass-through businesses.

Under the 2017 Tax Law, there are numerous breaks and tax deductions for business including pass through entities such as sole proprietorships, S Corp, LLCs, and Partnerships. Hence, there should be additional tax savings for business owners. With these additional tax savings and for those inclined to financially support and invest in the local community, it will allow them to help the nonprofits that serve the hometown. Hence, nonprofits (head’s up !), you may want to start identifying privately owned, small business owners as potential donors and/or collaborators that share your passion in meeting your nonprofit’s mission.

Stay tuned !.. In the forthcoming 2017 Tax Law blogs, we’ll share some insights and some actionable options for your consideration as you assess your own situation as a financial donor !


©2018 Aspire to Give®. All Rights Reserved. Greg Doepke is a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® and a Certified Financial Planner®. Greg serves on the Board of Directors for the International Association for Advisors in Philanthropy and as the Philanthropist in Residence at Auburn University’s Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies. As the founder of Aspire to Give® Greg educates and equips individuals, families, business owners, and foundations with both traditional and leading-edge philanthropic tools and techniques for smart, meaningful, and impactful giving. You can contact Greg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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If you are interested in learning more about Aspire to Give®'s pursuit to advance philanthropy through donor-focused education, social innovation, collaboration, and advocacy, please reach out to Greg Doepke: Greg@AspiretoGive.com

Disclosure: Greg Doepke is the founder and principal of Aspire to Give®, a social enterprise that donates 100% of profits to charity.
The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are not representative of the views of ACG Advisory Services, Inc. or the Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc. of Midlothian, Virginia. Each client and prospective client agrees, as a condition of precedent to his/her/its access to Aspire to Give®’s website to release and hold harmless ACG Advisory Services, Inc. and Actuarial Consulting Group, Inc., their officers, directors, owners, employees, and agents from any and all adverse consequences resulting from any of his/her/its actions and/or omissions which are independent of his/her/its receipt of personalized advice from Aspire to Give® or Gregory W. Doepke.