The Fundraising Effective Project recently released a report on giving trends through the first nine months of 2021. Initial data in the report shows charitable giving was up 1.4 percent in the first three quarters last year, compared to the same time period in 2020. As many will recall, 2020 was a banner year for charitable giving in a time of unprecedented need, so the Charitable Giving Coalition is encouraged that Americans continued to grow their giving last year.
Notable for both 2020 and 2021 is the availability of a universal charitable deduction, capped at $300 for individuals and $600 for joint filers, for non-itemizing taxpayers. This was the first time in more than three decades that all taxpayers, regardless of whether they itemize their taxes, were able to claim a deduction for at least some of their charitable giving.
Unfortunately, the temporary universal charitable deduction expired at the end of 2021, eliminating that incentive for non-itemizers. Charitable giving incentives, including the universal charitable deduction, encourage Americans to give more to charity than they otherwise would.
As lawmakers assess their legislative priorities this year, we hope they prioritize expanding and extending the universal charitable deduction, so we can see more giving increases like we did the last two years. Having this certainty in the tax code to encourage more charitable giving will mean even larger growth in years to come, especially as the nation continues to recover.
As many of you know, the fourth quarter of each year always sees the bulk of the year’s charitable giving with traditional season of giving campaigns and the end of the tax year. We look forward to seeing fourth quarter 2021 numbers soon to learn just how much generous Americans gave in another year of unprecedented need.