Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee (the “Committee”) held an extensive hearing to address the itemized deduction for charitable contributions under the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”). The session featured testimony from over 40 witnesses and lasted approximately seven hours. The hearing was described as being part of the Committee’s work on comprehensive tax reform, and rather than focusing on any current legislative proposal, the Committee sought to give stakeholders an opportunity to testify generally on the charitable deduction, the effect the charitable deduction has on the organizations’ work, and any suggestions to modify the deduction.
At the beginning of the hearing, Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) explained that the Committee had granted all requests for testimony following the announcement of the hearing just ten days before. Chairman Camp said that holding such a hearing was in line with tradition; a similarly comprehensive hearing was held before the 1986 Tax Reform Act to gather stakeholder input.
The witnesses at yesterday’s hearing consisted mostly of representatives from large nonprofit organizations including the Council on Foundations, Meals on Wheels, Independent Sector, Children’s National Medical Center, Volunteers of America, and Jewish Federations of America. The United Way system was also heavily represented with representatives of 12 local United Way organizations testifying.
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