As nonprofits are on the front lines of this crisis helping millions of Americans in need - new legislation will help nonprofits continue to serve their communities

WASHINGTON – U.S Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) joined Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Tim Scott (R-SC) to introduce the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act to expand the current above-the-line deduction for charitable giving made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March. The bill would ensure that Americans who donate to charities  are able to deduct that donation from their federal taxes at a higher level than the current $300 deduction.

Specifically, the bill would make available—for tax years 2019 and 2020—an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving on federal income taxes valued at up to one-third of the standard deduction (around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers).

“Nonprofits are on the front lines of this crisis, but as demand for their services soars, many of these organizations are struggling to keep their doors open,” said Klobuchar. “This bill will expand the universal tax deduction for charitable giving to help nonprofits continue to serve their communities during the pandemic.”  

“Nonprofits uphold Americans in our times of greatest need. Now it is time for Americans to uphold nonprofits in their moment of need,” said Lankford. “Our families need strong nonprofits to meet their essential needs. They are the private safety net before the public safety net. Our nation’s charities help millions of people both in Oklahoma and across the nation access food, shelter, clothes, employment assistance, and mental and physical health services without forcing them to wait on the government. This proposal incentivizes additional giving during a time of crisis in our nation. I am proud of the incredible work our bipartisan group of senators has done to help ease the federal tax burden for those who give to charities.”

“As we face three national crises—a pandemic, recession, and the wounds of structural racism—Americans have responded with a tremendous spirit of generosity,” said Coons. “People of all means are trying to help by giving what they can to help our nation heal and recover, but there’s a divide among Americans who give. One in seven Americans saves their receipt for a tax deduction. The other six, typically of lesser means, do not. That’s unjust, and it’s ineffective. If more Americans were acknowledged for and supported in their donations, there would be more giving, period. That’s why I am proud to support The Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act to substantially increase the 2020 emergency charitable giving incentive, to adequately reflect the magnitude of goodwill that so many are showing, and many others are capable of as we work to overcome these crises together.”

“The Coronavirus continues to disrupt all of our lives, but it also presents three unique challenges to our nation's charitable organizations,” said Lee. “First, charitable organizations that help our most vulnerable communities are seeing increased demand for their services. Second, the virus has complicated how these organizations deliver their services. And third, most charities have suffered a decline in donations as Americans have felt the financial pain of less work and unemployment. Congress can help by allowing all taxpayers to claim a greater portion of the charitable deduction for tax years 2019 and 2020. This would help more Americans donate to charitable organizations.”

In May, Klobuchar along with Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and with 6 other senators, introduced legislation to help nonprofit organizations meet an increase in demand for their services due to the coronavirus pandemic while helping newly unemployed Americans get back to work. The Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well (WORK NOW) Act will create a major new grant program to help nonprofit organizations retain their employees, scale their service delivery, and provide unemployed men and women with new jobs serving their communities.