Congress Considering Caps on Charitable Giving
Something really serious is in the works that may greatly affect land conservation and charitable giving, and we wanted to be sure you knew about it.
With the “fiscal cliff” looming, both Congress and the President are considering limiting the charitable deductions people can take on their taxes. This could effectively eliminate tax incentives for donated conservation easements and could greatly reduce all charitable giving. According to the Land Trust Alliance, the average tax payer who itemized in 2010 claimed $22,233 in deductions for mortgage interest and state, local, and property taxes alone. A cap would leave little tax incentives for charitable giving and certainly not for gifts on the scale of land or easements. A recent United Way poll showed that 79% of Americans oppose limiting charitable deductions. For more background information on the proposal see the Land Trust Alliance Policy Action.
Rand Wentworth, President of the Alliance, said that the proposed cap would be devastating to land conservation in America. Today, 1,700 land trusts depend on charitable giving incentives that have enabled the nation to save more than 47 million acres of wildlife habitat, agricultural lands and open space. Many of these conservation lands provide clean drinking water, sources for fresh foods, and serve as parks and refuges to restore our spirit and experience nature. In the greater Red Hills Region of southwest Georgia and north Florida, conservation easements are protecting the quality of life we all enjoy.
The single best action you can take right now is to pick up the phone and call your representatives and senators in Congress (202-224-3121) and tell them to preserve the charitable giving incentive. While Tall Timbers works with other conservation organizations on this issue, we depend on our supporters to voice their opinion to our elected leaders in Washington D.C.
Thank you for all of your support.
Lane Green, Executive Director
Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy