First Giving Tuesday since new tax law worries non-profit

9 months 3 weeks 3 days ago Tuesday, November 27 2018 Nov 27, 2018 Tuesday, November 27, 2018 3:58:00 PM CST November 27, 2018 in News
By: Nikki Ogle, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - This “Giving Tuesday,” people may not be as generous as in previous years, according to one non-profit.

It is the first giving season since the latest federal tax law went into effect. It was meant to put more money in the pockets of individuals and families, but may hurt non-profit organizations.

The standard deductible almost doubled with the new law. For individuals, it jumped from nearly $6,000 to $12,000 and for married couples, from nearly $12,000 to $24,000. That means fewer taxpayers will need to itemize their deductions.

The finance director of Rainbow House says it's that itemization that prompts some people to give to charities, because donations are deductible.

Non-profits rely heavily on such donations. When the tax law went into effect, the National Council of Non-Profits anticipated a $13 billion-loss for organizations.

Jeff Nichols, who is director of public relations for Rainbow House, says its primary funding comes from independent donors.

Rainbow House offers multiple services to mid-Missouri children and families in need. The most under-funded of those programs is its children’s emergency shelter. At least 50 percent of all monetary donations given to Rainbow House are directed to that around-the-clock shelter. 

On average, the shelter houses eight children at any one time, but can hold fourteen children. Nichols said it costs nearly $300 just to give one child a safe space for one night. 

Nichols said the tax law changes could affect Rainbow House and other non-profits.

“It’s certainly a concern for us, but it’s too early to tell what kind of impact it’s going to have on our day-to-day donors,” he said.

In his own household, Nichols said, he and his family decided to continue to support organizations, regardless of tax law.

“We hope that is going to apply to other donors as well,” he said.

Kate Henderson, an accountant in Columbia, said she hopes people will still give to charities out of the kindness of their heart, but said she would not be surprised if there is a drop in donations.

Henderson said people should still support charities, even without the tax benefits.

“Give what you can and save everything,” she said.

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