Missouri Legislature Deciding on Charitable Tax Credits

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JEFFERSON CITY - A bill looking to extend charitable tax credits is currently working its way through the Missouri State legislature. The credits allow people who donate to charities to receive deductions on their taxes. The bill would keep the tax credits until 2019. The bill would also reinstate tax credits for food pantry donations that expired last August.

Director of development at the Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri Bobbie Kincade said the expiration of the credits has already concerned some donors. 

"We have received calls from our donors who are interested in receiving the tax credit because it's an incentive for them," Kincade said. Kincade said that about 70 percent of the food bank's funding comes from donations. 

H&R Block tax professional and University of Missouri professor Carol Martin said the majority of the people eligible for the credits have claimed them in the past.

"There are a good amount of clients who can claim charitable contributions, and I'd say an overwhelming percentage of them do," Martin said. But even though most people try to claim the credits, Martin said if they aren't extended the impact won't be huge. Tax payers will still be able to claim the federal deductions for charitable donations, just not the state ones that have been offered in the past. 

"These are still deductible on your federal tax returns, but simply not the additional tax credit that the sate of Missouri gave last year," Martin said.  

Even though the impact of losing the credits won't be devastating, Kincade said every incentive for giving makes a difference.

"Donors will get it as a tax credit and then it helps the recipients who we're able to buy more food for," Kincade said.  

The current bill would extend tax credits for donations to pregnancy resource centers and child crisis nurseries as well. There was an effort by some lawmakers to remove the extension to pregnancy resource centers, but it failed.

The bill was passed by the Missouri House of Representatives and is waiting approval by the state senate. The tax breaks are estimated to cost the state about $3 million dollars a year.