Capitol Hill: Forum Submits Statement in Support of Johnson Amendment

Last week, subcommittees of the House Oversight Committee held a hearing focused on the Johnson Amendment’s effect on churches’ and other nonprofit organizations’ freedom of speech. Forum staff attended the hearing and Forum President and CEO David Biemesderfer submitted a statement for the hearing record expressing the Forum’s continued support for the Johnson Amendment. The Johnson Amendment is a 1954 amendment to the tax code that prohibits 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations from participating in political campaigns (specifically, supporting or opposing a candidate). The purpose of the law is to prevent tax-deductible money from being used to support or oppose candidates for public office. The Johnson Amendment does not prohibit all electoral activity, and 501(c)(3) organizations may still actively participate in the election process.  Forum’s position and statement

 Forum Joins Giving100 Coalition to Support Charitable Deduction for All Taxpayers

The Forum has joined Giving100, a coalition working to encourage members of Congress and the Administration to expand the charitable deduction to all American taxpayers. The Forum’s board of directors recently approved the Forum’s support of such a “universal” charitable deduction (read the Forum’s new position on the charitable deduction).  The charitable deduction, which provides a tax deduction for contributions to nonprofit organizations, has been in place for 100 years but is only available to roughly one-third of all Americans. Several provisions in recent tax reform proposals would severely reduce the number of taxpayers who would use the charitable deduction, resulting in a decrease in charitable giving of 10-20%, according to several estimates. Learn more about Giving100.

 Excise Tax Bill Re-introduced in the House

On May 4, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN) introduced legislation to modify the excise tax on investment income of private foundations by moving to a flat rate of 1%. The bill, H.R. 2386, has bipartisan support. Aside from Paulsen, additional co-sponsors include; Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-OH), Rep. George Holding (R-NC) and Rep. Richard Nolan (D-MN).The bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means and Budget committees. The Forum supports simplification of the private foundation excise tax on net investment income to a revenue-neutral flat rate. Visit the Forum’s website for more information and resources.