Together SC’s president, Madeleine McGee was in Washington, DC last week,advocating with the National Council of Nonprofits on federal policy issues affecting nonprofits. Here’s a recap of the five key issues discussed with congressional staff:
- Preserving nonprofit nonpartisanship. Certain members of Congress are trying to repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment - the provision in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that protects nonprofits from being corrupted by partisan politics. Together SC asked our members of Congress to protect nonprofit nonpartisanship by rejecting these efforts, the most recent of which is a rider in a House appropriations bill that could be considered in a committee next week.
- Delaying implementation of new taxes on tax-exempt nonprofits. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act includes a provision that requires tax-exempt nonprofits to pay unrelated business income tax on the expenses they incur for employee parking and transit benefits. Besides being bad policy, this new tax is causing problems for nonprofits because the IRS hasn't issued guidance to answer a variety of questions about how it applies to particular nonprofit situations. Together SC urged our members of Congress to ask the IRS to delay implementation of this new tax until the IRS issues clear guidance.
- Creating a universal, non-itemizer charitable deduction. Because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubled the standard deduction, fewer taxpayers will be using the charitable deduction in 2018. Researchers estimate that this will lead to a significant reduction in charitable contributions. Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) has introduced the Universal Charitable Deduction Act (H.R. 3988) to solve this problem and to provide incentives for low and moderate income individuals and families to give generously to nonprofits.
- Securing a complete and accurate count in the 2020 U.S. Census. Together SC asked our members of Congress to ensure that there is adequate federal funding for the 2020 Census. We also asked them to take action to remove the citizenship question from the Census, which could lead to a significant undercount in South Carolina and other states. The U.S. Department of Commerce recently added this question to the Census even though it hasn't appeared on the Census in the past six decades.
- Preserving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. The PROSPER Act, a higher education bill, includes a provision that would end this student loan forgiveness program for people who work for nonprofits or in other public service jobs for 10 years while consistently paying down their student loans. The elimination of this loan forgiveness program could make it harder for nonprofits to attract talented young staff in the future. Together SC asked our members of Congress to reject the PROSPER Act.
Madeleine McGee pictured with Nick Myers, Senior Counsel and Emily Lavery, Deputy Legislative Assistant for Senator Graham