The Charity Deduction and Big Government

The Charity Deduction and Big Government

When you filed your tax return, did you claim a deduction for charitable giving? Chances are pretty good that you did, since roughly 80 percent of itemizers do.

The charity deduction is one of the oldest provisions of the income tax, dating from 1917. And over the years, it's also been one of the most popular, winning support from large majorities in numerous opinion polls.

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... At various times, the charity deduction has been scaled back or otherwise limited, chiefly in the name of simplification and revenue raising. In 1986, for instance, lawmakers eliminated the deduction for non-itemizers, after having extended it to the standard deduction crowd just a few years earlier.

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... [T]he charity deduction strikes many of its defenders as not simply wise but indispensable. If charities are a bulwark against creeping statism, then the charitable deduction isn't just good for nonprofits -- it's good for American freedom.

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View Joe Thorndike's opinion in its entirety on the taxanalysts® Blog.

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