ACTION ALERT: House Tax Reform Bill Could Dramatically Alter Nonprofit Operations, Missions

November 6, 2017

Some of the proposed tax changes in the just-introduced House tax reform bill are bad for nonprofits. Very bad. And there’s very little time to do something about it. Call your Representative now and tell them not to undermine the work of charitable nonprofits through tax reform.

The House tax reform bill is moving fast. The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (H.R. 1) was introduced last Thursday, the tax committee starts working on it today, and the full House is expected to vote on it next week without amendments. Today and tomorrow may be the last best chance for nonprofits to have a say in what’s in House tax reform bill.

Here’s a nonprofit summary and a detailed article on what’s in the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act (H.R. 1), but the two big-ticket issues we ask you to call about are these:

1. Remove the Johnson Amendment language (Section 5201) from the House tax bill. Section 5201 of the House tax bill would weaken the law that protects 501(c)(3) organizations from demands by candidates for public office and their donors for endorsements and campaign contributions. The law is called the “Johnson Amendment” and has been protecting nonprofits since 1954. Under the bill, churches would be allowed to endorse candidates, which will likely result in massive political spending, expansion of corruption in the 501(c)(3) space, exploitation of “sanctuaries” for political gain, the undermining of public trust, and much more.

2. Add a Universal or Non-itemizer deduction for charitable giving to the House tax bill to enable all Americans to get a tax benefit from giving back to the work of nonprofits in their communities. The House tax bill would nearly double the standard deduction and, as a result, shrink down to five percent the number of taxpayers who itemize their charitable deductions and likely shrink charitable giving too. Ninety-five percent of taxpayers would receive no tax benefit for giving back to their communities. A solution is to allow all taxpayers, including those who take the standard deduction, to take an extra deduction for their charitable donations.


Please take two minutes today to call your U.S. Representative and deliver this simple message:

“The House tax bill is a disaster for charitable nonprofits. It is important that the House do two things to help fix it: 1) strike the Johnson Amendment language at Section 5201 from the bill, and 2) add a universal deduction to give a tax incentive to all Americans to give back to their communities. Thank you!”

How to Make the Call: Simply call the Capitol switchboard (202-225-3121) and follow the automated instructions to get to your Representative’s office. If you’re not sure who your Representative is, go here to enter your zip code or here to review a list of Representatives.

Do you have an extra minute or two minute to send a Tweet? Find your Representative’s Twitter Handle here and send this message to her/him. (Be sure to start with a period before the Representative’s handle):

Representative’s Twitter Handle 2 things on #TaxReform: Protect #nonprofits: strike Sec5201 on #JohnsonAmendment. Add Universal Deduction for All American taxpayers!

. @WaysMeansCmte 2 things on #TaxReform: Protect #nonprofits: strike Sec5201 on #JohnsonAmendment. Add Universal Deduction for All American taxpayers!

Your voice matters! Join us in taking a stand for a strong and vibrant nonprofit community.

Thank you very much,

Laura Pierce
Executive Director
Washington Nonprofits

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