Monday, March 09, 2009

Recession, Tax Plans Worry Donors And Nonprofits

The Associated Press published an article recently discussing how some non-profits and donors are afraid that Obama’s newest tax changes will negatively affect them. You can find a snippet of the post below, but the full text can be found here.

Chicago philanthropist Richard Kiphart contributed generously to Barack Obama's campaign and is glad he backed a winner.

But he's among many donors and recipients in the philanthropic world worrying that Obama's new tax proposals could deter future giving at a time when many nonprofits already are in crisis mode.

"I just think they're wrong on this," said Kiphart, a corporate finance executive at global investment firm William Blair & Company. "All these organizations are crying: 'Why are they doing this to us?'"

Many wealthy Americans weren't shocked when Obama's budget proposal called for raising their income taxes. But there was surprise — and some alarm — over a separate proposal to limit the deductions that couples earning more than $250,000 can claim for charitable gifts.

Under the plan, a donor in the highest tax bracket would save $280 on a $1,000 charitable deduction, instead of $396.

Obama's budget director, Peter Orszag, says the change wouldn't occur until 2011, when the administration hopes a recovery will be under way, and there's a chance the proposal will die in Congress. But many in the nonprofit world are uneasy.

"This is a time of tremendous anxiety in the nonprofit sector," said Kathleen McCarthy, director of the Center for the Study of Philanthropy at City University of New York.

"A lot of these organizations are going to die in the next six or nine months," she said. "Saying you want to play around with the tax code only makes things worse psychologically."

Nonprofit officials and philanthropy experts interviewed by The Associated Press agreed that tax consequences are a secondary factor for many donors.

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