Republicans like to say that Americans should depend more on charity than the government, but the GOP's package of tax cuts may have obliterated charitable giving in the United States.
According to data from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans cut their charitable giving -- or at least the amount they're taking deductions on -- by at least $54 billion as of May 2019.
“The amount is just jaw-dropping,” said Michel Nilsen, vice president of communications and public policy at the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “This is a really significant drop. This to me is a sign that giving was hurt.” [...]
The TCJA doubled the standard deduction — the amount taxpayers are allowed to subtract from their taxable income to reduce their tax bill. Taxpayers can still itemize their deductions, but there’s less incentive to do that now that the standard deductions are higher. Many worried that would lead to fewer taxpayers itemizing, and in turn fewer people donating to charity as a way to get a deduction.
Those predictions appear to be coming true, according to the most recent IRS data. So far this tax season, 11 million taxpayers have itemized deductions for charitable contributions, compared to 31 million at this point in 2018.
It's possible that some Americans are still donating to charities without itemizing it, however that cannot account for the entire discrepancy between 2018 and 2019.
Experts who spoke to MarketWatch say charitable giving has likely suffered as a result of the GOP's policy even if it has not dropped as much as these numbers indicate.
We probably won't know until the end of the year just how much the GOP's has harmed the charities they say we should all lean on in times of need.
The good or bad news, depending on your perspective, is that this portion of the GOP's tax cuts is not permanent. The tax cuts for corporations are the only permanent tax cuts.