The New Jersey YMCA State Alliance and other NJ branches of the Young Men’s Christian Association, joined the national organization in honoring Congressman Chris Smith on Wednesday morning in Washington during their YMCA Champions Breakfast on Capitol Hill.
Smith was named a Congressional Champion for, among other things, his efforts to restore the ability of middle class taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions from their federal income taxes.
H.R. 651, a bill authored by Smith and introduced in January, would allow taxpayers to deduct 100% of their charitable deductions from their federal income taxes, even if they opt to use the standard deduction instead of itemizing their deductions.
As introduced, Smith’s bill remedies a problem created by the 2017 tax law that doubles the standard deduction but now prohibits filers who take the standard deduction from claiming any deductions for charitable donations. Smith’s legislation would give taxpayers maximum flexibility, allowing them to claim their charitable donations whether they take the standard deduction or itemize. Smith said his bill “restores a tax incentive that has sustained many charitable organizations and the work they do for years.”
Under the previous tax code, approximately 30 percent of tax filers itemized their deductions, but the new tax code is expected to reduce the percentage of filers who itemize their taxes—and therefore utilize the charitable deduction—to roughly 10 percent.
“Charitable organizations are a bedrock of our society, providing critical services every day often without public fanfare,”Smith said.“They feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, and provide health care, education, job training and a myriad of other services to those in need. We can’t see them left behind by a flaw in the tax code. My legislation would help ensure this doesn’t happen.”
Smith commended the YMCA and other groups noting that citizens who may not be able to volunteer want to help through donations.
“I am working hard to ensure that charitable organizations like the YMCA can continue the humanitarian work they do and at the same time protect the taxpayers—especially small donors—who want to help financially but may be forced to forgo that choice because of changes in the law,” Smith said.“My legislation would remedy this problem by restoring the full charitable tax deduction, making it universal and across-the-board, allowing any taxpayer who donates to a worthy cause to deduct their charitable donations.”