Where do We go from Here?
Over the past year, we have been keeping an eye on the Johnson Amendment, the federal budget, and the most recently passed tax reform bill signed into law just before the holidays.
We are happy to report that the Johnson Amendment has been left alone (as of now). We will continue to monitor the status of this issue and will keep you informed of any new developments.
From our perspective, we did not support the tax bill because of the various unintended consequences of the reform - many of which may affect our nonprofit sector. We also made a valiant effort to encourage the addition of a universal charitable deduction.
Unfortunately - despite the efforts of hundreds of statewide nonprofit associations and local, state, and nationwide nonprofits - the universal charitable deduction did not make it into the final tax bill. We will continue to support and advocate for this change moving forward.
The New Year
Now, here we are in 2018 and the sun is shining while I write this. I take that as a sign of good things to come. While I am fielding many questions these days about how this new bill will impact our nonprofit sector, I can only answer honestly: I don’t know. However, I can tell you that I am choosing to start this year with optimism and faith.
I suppose that makes me a bit of a Pollyanna, but I’m fine with that designation. I survived cancer in 2012 with the same optimism I’m hoping to inspire you to feel too. I believed that everything was going to be alright. And guess what? It was.
Sure, there were some hurdles to overcome, changes to make, and uncomfortable choices to think through. But in the end I emerged a stronger person for the challenge and I believe that all of us will be better in the end.
Yes, because of the tax reform bill there will be hurdles, changes, and choices but those are never a bad thing. We should always challenge ourselves in this way, even if a piece of legislation isn’t causing us to do so.
I am unfailingly a half-glass full kind of gal. It’s one of my most endearing and also my most annoying qualities. Ask me almost anything and I can point out something good. For example, someone recently asked me if I thought that the changes in the standard deduction for taxpayers would mean fewer charitable gifts. My response is probably a little atypical but it is truly filled with hope, optimism, and a belief in the charitable hearts of our communities.
My answer is: no, I don’t think there will be fewer charitable gifts. I really don’t. With the changes to the tax code, people will have MORE money in their pocketsand more to give. I am putting my faith in the people of our communities who have always supported our nonprofit sector for over 100 years.
According to the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy 2014 study:
Nonprofit Tax Toolkit
In the meantime, I challenge you to familiarize yourself with the changes to the tax code and understand this: the charitable deduction has not been eliminated and it is not inaccessible. It is available to those who itemize their tax returns. While it may not be advantageous for most of us to itemize (that’s another long explanation entirely) the charitable deduction remains in place. I highly recommend you contact your favorite CPA and ask for more information. We will also be sharing guidance on this issue in the coming months.
Charitable giving isn’t the only thing we’re keeping an eye on either. There will be changes in compliance, state and federal budgets, and more work will be needed advocating for or against policy that impacts our sector. We will continue to communicate and advocate on your behalf.
Over the next few months we will develop a comprehensive online toolkit full of resources and information that you need as a result of the tax bill. This toolkit will be updated on an as-needed basis as things will change and we will learn more in the coming months.
Free webinars will also take place when possible to go over any information you need to know. We plan to consult with HR, CPA, payroll, and other experts to help us all understand any changes in paperwork and compliance issues.
Look for a free webinar in early February in partnership with Harris & CO, CPA firm which will be an early peek at changes that could impact our nonprofits.
We will continue to offer our capacity building trainings statewide: in person, and via webinar on topics that help you build a strong board, fund development plan, grant writing strategy, right sizing your budget, and more. All those things will help you continue to grow and thrive in this challenging environment.
Always Advocating for you
Lastly, now more than ever it is important for us at the Idaho Nonprofit Center to continue to be your champion; to lift up our sector and share your contributions to our quality of life in Idaho so we can inspire and encourage philanthropy in all its forms.
In the meantime, we DO need to hear from you so we know the types of resources and information you want and need the most right now. Please take a moment and complete this brief survey so we can be the statewide nonprofit association you need.
My final parting thoughts for you are simple: I choose to believe in Idaho’s nonprofits’ work, employees, boards, and communities. I choose to look ahead with optimism and hope. I choose to place my faith in our ability as nonprofits and leaders to lead us through these challenging times and know that all of us, in some way, will be better for it. And I believe we will make it through.
As always, we’re here to serve you at the Idaho Nonprofit Center.
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