New tax shouldn’t hurt charities

It isn’t a tax deduction that motivates most who give donations

Tax reform signed into law by President Donald Trump just before Christmas may be detrimental to many charitable organizations, some analysts insist. That’s an absurd claim. It should not make an iota of difference in how we Americans respond to need.

If you make contributions to recognized charities, you may be using them as a deduction to lessen your income tax bill. There had been some concern Congress would eliminate that deduction, which costs the Treasury an estimated $41.5 billion a year.

But the new law keeps the charitable giving deduction in place.

So what’s the problem?

Some analysts worry that tax relief granted to most Americans may prompt some to forego charitable giving because, in essence, they don’t need the deduction to reduce their tax bills. For those using the new $24,000 standard deduction for married couples, there is no reason to resort to any itemized deductions.

Some people may reduce charitable giving because it no longer helps them. Or so say some commentators.

No doubt that will happen in some situations. But concluding it will be a major problem assumes most charitable giving is not out of a motive to help worthy causes, but for purely selfish reasons.

Americans are better than that. We are confident the overwhelming majority of charitable giving is out of the goodness of donors’ hearts, not merely to save them money at tax time.

Here’s hoping our argument is proved right by events, starting early this year.

If you know of a need and can help fill it, please do by making a donation to a worthy cause — as soon as possible.