Orthodox Union Welcomes Bill to Increase Charitable Giving by Providing Breaks to Taxpayers Who Don’t Itemize Deductions

“Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act” Would Help America’s Nonprofits and Those They Serve

The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union)–the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization—today welcomes the introduction of the bipartisan “Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act” (S.4032) which will provide charities on the front lines of the Covid-19 response critical relief by amending the Internal Revenue Service Code to allow above-the-line deductions for charitable contributions by individuals who don’t itemize their 2019 and 2020 tax returns.

The bill was spearheaded by Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and has the strong backing of the OU Advocacy Center, which has been working closely with legislators and a coalition of nonprofits to expand charitable giving laws.

The bill would make available—for tax years 2019 and 2020—an above-the-line deduction for charitable giving on federal income taxes valued at up to one-third of the standard deduction (around $4,000 for an individual filer and $8,000 for married joint filers). Those who have already filed their 2019 returns would be able to file amended returns.

Said Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy:
“In the American Jewish community, our synagogues, schools and social welfare charities have been hit hard by the economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Charitable contributions enable our institutions to not only exist—but to fulfill their mission of serving our communities and, especially, those in need. Sadly, charitable contributions have declined sharply. The Orthodox Union is grateful to Sens. Lankford, Coons, Lee, Shaheen, Scott and Klobuchar for introducing this legislation that provides a critically needed boost to charities in the Jewish community and American society at large.”

Said Orthodox Union President Mark (Moishe) Bane:
“This legislation to expand charitable giving is a simple way Congress can make it easier for Americans to help nonprofit organizations continue to assist those in need. We urge lawmakers to act swiftly to pass this legislation and help fulfill the growing needs of our community and beyond.”

For more information on Covid-19 assistance for shuls, schools and other Jewish organizations, see OU Advocacy’s resource page here.