Tax news

December 17, 2014

IRA Charitable Rollover Returns—For a VERY Limited Time!

December 17, 2014, Washington, D.C. -- Congress has reinstated the IRA Charitable Rollover only for the remainder of 2014, after much debate and several attempts for longer or permanent reinstatement.

Just prior to adjourning for the year, the House voted on a provision that would make the IRA Rollover, and two other charitable giving incentives, permanent.  While all three charitable provisions have broad bipartisan support, politics surrounding how to pay for the cost of the measure prompted a White House veto threat, and the bill was just eight votes short of winning the 2/3 majority needed for moving ahead.

The President will soon sign into law a package of short-term tax provisions that includes reinstating the IRA Charitable Rollover only through December 31, 2014. The IRA Charitable Rollover has proven to generate new and increased charitable donations for orchestras in the years it has been available. Unfortunately, the provision has undergone several cycles of expiring and being renewed, leaving many donors confused about the status. Here are the facts:

  • 2014:
    The IRA Rollover expired at the end of 2013, and is now retroactively reinstated for 2014. If donors aged 70 ½ and older instructed or instruct their IRA administrators to make a distribution of up to $100,000 directly to a charity through December 31, 2014, that distribution will not be treated as taxable income for 2014.

    It is always wise to advise donors to contact their IRA administrator and/or tax advisors for more detail as you inform them about the changing status of this important charitable giving incentive.
  • 2015:
    The IRA Charitable Rollover will expire again at the end of this month, which means this provision is NOT yet available for 2015. The League, in partnership with you, will continue to advocate to Congress for the IRA Rollover to be made permanent when the new Congress convenes next year.

In the meantime, please feel welcome to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions, or examples of how the IRA Rollover has benefited the work of your orchestra.

December 8, 2014

Congress may have a new opportunity to make the IRA Charitable Rollover permanent before the end of 2014. Last week, the House passed a package of tax provisions that would only reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover through the end of December. If signed into law, this would give donors just a few weeks to make their 2014 contributions before the provision expires yet again. Your voice matters! Elected officials have heard the message that a short-term reinstatement is not an adequate solution for the countless communities that rely on charitable giving. Congress is considering a streamlined version of the America Gives More Act, which was passed by the House this summer but not taken up by the Senate.

The House may soon vote to send the Senate a new bill that permanently reinstates three charitable giving incentives, including the IRA Charitable Rollover. The House, then Senate, may vote on this new charitable giving proposal in just days, so time is of the essence! Contact your elected officials right away and urge their support for permanent enactment of the IRA Charitable Rollover! Every vote is crucial, and with Congress planning to wrap up for the year by the end of this week, the window of opportunity is quickly closing.

Speak Up Today!

December 2, 2014

Donors Await IRA Rollover Reinstatement

Just within the past week, options to reinstate the expired IRA Charitable Rollover provision have come on and off the negotiating table, including permanence, a two year reinstatement, and a one-year retroactive extension. The bill passed earlier this summer by the House of Representatives makes a set of charitable giving incentives permanent, but has not been taken up by the Senate. Its fate is now in the hands of Congressional negotiators working on a short-term tax deal. The League partners closely with national nonprofit advocates throughout the year, and we most recently joined a campaign reaching every member of Congress to urge permanent enactment of the IRA Charitable Rollover. We will notify you as soon as a decision is made so that orchestras can make the most of any opportunity to put this key charitable giving incentive to use!

October 29, 2014

Advocate for Reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover 

With midterm elections just a week away, policymakers are back in their home states and districts, campaigning and reconnecting with constituents. One issue area that is ripe for Congressional action after the elections is the reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover, which expired at the end of 2013. The House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act this summer, which would permanently enact several expired charitable giving incentives, including the IRA Rollover. The next step is in the hands of the Senate, and then members of both chambers will begin final negotiations on tax policy before the end of 2014.  Take action now to remind all of your elected officials how essential charitable giving is to the services your orchestra provides in your community.  Contact your Senators today!

August, 14, 2014

Urge Senate to Vote on IRA Rollover

Ask your Senators to take action in September to support charitable giving incentives. Nearly one month ago, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the America Gives More Act (H.R. 4719), a set of five charitable giving provisions that includes permanent reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover. This giving incentive has been proven to boost the impact of nonprofit organizations in communities nationwide by permitting donors aged 70-1/2 and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their retirement accounts.

While Senators are home in their states this month, please urge them in person and in writing to take up permanent reinstatement of the IRA Rollover when they reconvene in September. Helpful resources to share with your Senators include:

·A letter signed by over 850 organizations in July that articulates the need for permanent reinstatement of the charitable tax extenders

·A profile of the community and economic impact of the nonprofit sector in your state

·The League’s orchestra-specific issue brief on the IRA Charitable Rollover

Orchestras across the country weighed in to help secure House passage of H.R.4719 – it’s now time to turn attention to the Senate. There is a small but critical window of time for the Senate to act on the House-passed bill and they need to hear from their constituents how important and pressing the needs of the community are.

Tell your Senators to take up permanent reinstatement of the IRA Rollover!

July 17, 2014

IRA Rollover Approved for Permanent Reinstatement by House

Today, the House passed by a vote of 277-130 H.R. 4719, a set of five charitable giving provisions, which includes reinstating and making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover. The IRA Charitable Rollover has generated new and increased contributions to support the work that orchestras and other nonprofit organizations carry out in communities every day. The provision, which expired at the end of 2013, permits donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000. Orchestra advocates rallied in response to the opportunity to weigh in with Congress, urging their Representatives to support this vital provision and the work it enables. The League has played a lead role in communications with key decision-makers on the Hill, and side-by-side with more than 850 organizations, signed on to an open nonprofit coalition letter to the House of Representatives in support of reinstating these important provisions that sustain the work of charitable organizations nation-wide. This letter was cited during the bill's debate and entered into public record. Advocates are now pressing Congress to finish final approval of the provision so that nonprofits will be able to put the resulting charitable donations to use as soon as possible.

July 15, 2014

House Votes on IRA Rollover this Week: Contact Congress Today!

This week presents a rare opportunity for a vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on an issue of great importance to communities served by orchestras. On Thursday, your member of Congress will vote on H.R. 4719, a set of five charitable giving provisions, which includes reinstating and making permanent the IRA Charitable Rollover.

The IRA Charitable Rollover has generated new and increased contributions to support the work that orchestras and other nonprofit organizations carry out in communities every day. The provision expired at the end of 2013, and permits donors age 70 and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000.

Join the broader nonprofit community in telling Congress to vote in support of reinstating this important giving incentive. Use the Leagues advocacy campaign link below to explain how private donations support the employment opportunities, inspiring concerts, educational programs, and artistic innovation that orchestras provide in communities across the country.

Write to Your Representative Today Urging Support for the IRA Charitable Rollover!

July 1, 2014

IRA Rollover Up for Reinstatement

As early as next week, the House may consider permanent reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover and other important charitable giving incentives. The League has joined Independent Sector and hundreds of other organizations in signing a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives, urging lawmakers to vote for permanent reinstatement of these key provisions that spur donors to give more. The IRA Charitable Rollover, which expired at the end of 2013, permits donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000. Under this provision, donors have given new and increased contributions to support the work of orchestras and other nonprofit organizations.

Find further background on the IRA Charitable Rollover provision in the League’s online campaign materials.

May 8, 2014

Ask Congress to Reinstate the IRA Rollover!

A tax provision that has been proven to boost the impact of nonprofit organizations in communities nationwide is up for consideration in the Senate next week. Take a moment to weigh in today in support of the reinstating the IRA Charitable Rollover, which allows donors aged 70-1/2 and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their retirement accounts. This important incentive to increase charitable giving expired at the end of 2013, and Congress is now considering potential reinstatement for 2014 and extension through 2015. Substantial new and increased donations are made to support the work of nonprofits when the IRA Rollover is available to donors.

The EXPIRE Act of 2014 (S. 2260), introduced by Senate Finance Committee chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR), would reinstate and extend a number of tax provisions, including the IRA Charitable Rollover. The Senate will soon be voting on this measure, and the U.S. House of Representatives is also considering its approach to reinstating expired tax measures. This is a key moment to remind your elected officials of the impact that orchestras and other nonprofit organizations provide in communities, and the critical importance of charitable giving incentives, including the IRA Charitable Rollover provision.   

Orchestras partner with other nonprofit organizations to make a difference in the lives of people in their communities, and they also partner with the full array of nonprofits to impact federal policy. Your voice matters – make it heard today!

Urge Congress to Support Reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover

February 12, 2014

Unified Call for the Return of the IRA Rollover

The IRA Charitable Rollover has proven to generate substantial new and increased gifts to orchestras and other nonprofits during its short and spotty lifespan. This opportunity for donors aged 70 ½  and older to give tax-free contributions of up to $100,000 expired at the end of 2013. Since its original enactment in 2006, the provision has expired and been reinstated multiple times, leaving donors incapable of making the most of this valuable charitable giving incentive. The IRA Rollover may be retroactively reinstated, along with other expired tax provisions, at some point later this year. In addition to advocating for this short-term fix, the League has joined an effort, coordinated by Independent Sector, inviting nonprofit organizations to ask Congress to put an end to the on-again-off-again nature of the IRA Rollover by making the provision permanent. If you would like to add your orchestra's name to this effort, act before February 24!

Clear Support for Charitable Giving Incentives

Thousands of nonprofit leaders and program participants continue to make the compelling case that charitable giving incentives are a lifeline to communities and worthy of protection, amidst ongoing talks of tax reform and budget challenges. Incoming Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and a bipartisan group of 32 Senators signed a letter to the Finance Committee last month, urging policy leaders to preserve the “full scope and value” of the charitable deduction. More than a dozen potential changes to the charitable tax deduction have been “on the table” throughout the last few years of fierce negotiations over the debt limit, fiscal cliff, and comprehensive tax reform. While talks on the thorny topic of comprehensive tax reform are slow-moving in advance of the upcoming election cycle, vigilance is the order of the day as policy leaders continue to discuss shorter-term options for raising federal revenue. The League and entire nonprofit community will be watching as the President’s budget is released in early March to see if the Administration once again proposes a 28% cap on the rate of deductibility of charitable contributions. 

November 22, 2013

Orchestras Speak Up to Protect Giving
On November 20, the League and member orchestras across the country joined nonprofit advocates in urging Congress to protect incentives for charitable giving. As part of a long-term effort to prevent policies that would reduce donations to nonprofits programs, advocates - including four League representatives joined in meetings with key policy leaders on the Hill, while hundreds of others sent messages to their elected officials. As budget decisions and tax reform efforts move ahead, you can do your part to describe how services to your community would be harmed by declines in charitable giving. 

November 18, 2013

Take Action: Tell Congress to Protect Giving!

As Congress debates budget priorities and tax reform, charitable giving incentives remain at risk. For orchestras, a reduction in giving would be deeply felt by the communities they serve. As members of the nonprofit charitable sector, orchestras depend upon private philanthropy and civic support to fuel programs that serve community needs through music, education, health and wellness programs, and more.

Please contact your Members of Congress on “Protect Giving Day” - this Wednesday, November 20th - and urge them to preserve charitable giving incentives. The League is a lead partner in the national Charitable Giving Coalition and is joining advocates from across the nation in meetings with key policymakers on the Hill this Wednesday. You can do your part right at home. Tell Congress how charitable contributions support the unique, essential services your orchestra provides in your community and how much every dollar counts. Be specific, and let them know how even the smallest reduction in the incentive to give would damage your organization and the people you serve.

Thank you for your participation and for spreading the word! Complete information - including talking points, background, and a sample email message to Congress tailored specifically for orchestras - is available in the League's tax policy advocacy center, or click the link below to go straight to the customizable email. Please feel welcome to contact the League’s DC office with any questions.

URGE CONGRESS TO PROTECT CHARITABLE GIVING INCENTIVES

November 13, 2013

IRA Charitable Rollover Expiring December 31!

As 2013 winds to close, a significant charitable giving incentive is also nearing its expiration date. The IRA Charitable Rollover provision was reinstated in the broad deal passed by Congress earlier this year, but it will once again expire on December 31, 2013.

This provision has proven to generate new and increased charitable donations for orchestras in the years it has been available. In the course of its history, the IRA Rollover has expired and been renewed several times, leaving many donors confused about the status. The provision has been reinstated through the end of 2013, meaning that donors aged 70 ½ and older can instruct their IRA administrators to make tax-free distributions of up to $100,000 directly from their IRAs to charitable organizations through December 31, 2013.

It is always wise to advise donors to contact their IRA administrator and/or tax advisors for more detail as you inform them that this important charitable giving incentive is still available for the next several weeks.What’s next for 2014? Policy leaders in Washington tell us that a provision to extend the IRA Rollover into 2014 is not likely to gain steam until well into the 2014 calendar year, as Congress is currently committed only to addressing tax provisions through “comprehensive reform.” Please feel welcome to be in touch with the League's DC office with any questions, and stay tuned, as we will keep you informed of further policy developments!

July 22, 2013

URGENT: Two Opportunities to Protect Charitable Giving Incentives

Among the wide array of urgent national policy issues in motion, orchestras have stepped up in record numbers to ask Congress to protect charitable giving incentives.  Our work isn’t done. As Congress continues to consider tax reform proposals, the charitable deduction and other giving incentives hang in the balance.  Here are two ways your orchestra can stay engaged in this critical policy discussion:

Take a Seat at the Nonprofit Policy Table:  Partnering with the broader nonprofit community is essential as we communicate the importance of the charitable deduction.  The League is an active member of Independent Sector and the Charitable Giving Coalition, participating as a lead advocate side-by-side with the broader array of nonprofit organizations that serve communities nationwide.  A national sign-on letter to the Senate is currently circulating, and your orchestra is invited to join other nonprofits going on record in support of charitable giving incentives.  You can add your orchestra’s name to the Independent Sector letter - just sign on by Wednesday, July 24.

Develop Your Relationship with Members of Congress:  The ongoing discussion of tax reform presents a key opportunity to better inform your elected officials of the public value of your organization, and to explain that your orchestra is part of the fabric of the broader nonprofit sector that serves your community.  Throughout the month of August, members of Congress will be returning to their districts and states.  Consider using this time to meet with policymakers, acquaint them with the work your orchestra will be doing in the coming season, and invite them to experience your orchestra in action.  Please contact our DC office to share information about your relationship with elected officials – we put that information to work on the Hill on the full range of policy issues impacting orchestras nationwide.

April 12, 2013

Nonprofits Defend Charitable Giving Incentives

As budget debates once again ramp up, the White House and Congress continue to consider imposing limits on charitable giving incentives. The President’s FY14 budget request once again includes a 28% cap on the rate of tax deductibility for charitable donations, and House and Senate budget and tax policy committees are weighing a range of potential limitations, primarily as cost-saving measures. The League has joined a broad array of national nonprofits calling on Washington’s policy makers to take the charitable deduction off the revenue table once and for all. Reducing incentives to give would shrink the resources available to support community needs. The League has submitted testimony to Congress urging protection and expansion of charitable giving incentives and illustrating the public value orchestras contribute in partnership with other community-based nonprofit organizations. Earlier this week, we joined dozens of other national nonprofit groups in sending a letter to President Obama urging protection of tax incentives for charitable giving. Learn more about this important policy area.

March 12, 2013

League Testimony Supports Charitable Giving Incentives

Incentives for charitable giving remain on the table as Congress and the White House debate budgetary and tax policy issues. The House Ways & Means committee is in the midst of a fact-finding and public engagement process to inform comprehensive tax reform, and hosted a February 14 hearing exploring possible changes to the tax deduction for charitable giving. Under discussion are a wide array of proposals, some to expand tax deductions and others to curtail them, and while members of the committee offered many statements in support of the charitable sector, several members posed questions as to whether nonprofits are sufficiently focused on serving urgent community needs. The League has submitted testimony to the committee urging protection and expansion of charitable giving incentives and illustrating the public value orchestras contribute in partnership with other community-based nonprofit organizations. With the House, Senate, and President all weighing options for tax reform, this area is certain to be one of ongoing debate throughout the coming months, and is a priority policy area for orchestras and our national partners in the broader nonprofit sector.

February 12, 2013

Charitable Giving Incentives Still Under Debate in DC

The House Ways and Means Committee is considering potential changes to the tax incentives for charitable giving. While the recent fiscal cliff deal preserved the fundamental tax structure for charitable giving incentives, proposals to limit the tax deduction for charitable gifts remain on the table as policy leaders contemplate tax reform. Congress needs to understand that nonprofit groups, such as your orchestra, rely on charitable giving to support valuable services to the community. On Thursday, February 14, the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee held a hearing on the tax deduction for charitable giving, and a special working group of the committee is being established to explore potential changes within the next six weeks.  This working group will also invite points of view from all members of Congress.  The League will be submitting testimony on behalf of orchestras, but it is also crucial that you speak up and weigh in with your members of Congress.

Please take the following three steps:

1.       Speak Now.  Send a communication to your member of Congress, going on record to explain that charitable giving is essential to supporting the work your orchestra does in its community, and ask that charitable giving incentives be maintained. Our online advocacy center has more background and clear messages you can personalize with details about the work your orchestra does to directly benefit your community.

2.       Identify Relationships.  Check with others in your organization to determine whether the orchestra already has a direct relationship with your member of Congress and their staff. Please reach out with a phone call to your member’s DC office with a reminder of the vital work the orchestra is doing in your community and to discuss the importance of protecting charitable giving incentives. If your orchestra has a close connection, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so the League can reinforce that connection in D.C.

3.       Show Your Value.  Invite your member of Congress and their staff to see your orchestra in action.  Congress will take a break from D.C. and return to their home districts March 23 through April 7. These are perfect times to schedule a meeting with your Representative and/or to extend an invitation for them to see how your orchestra serves your community.

Thank you for your advocacy, and please feel welcome to be in touch with any questions and to let us know of your contacts with your member of Congress. The League continues to meet with Ways & Means offices, in collaboration with our partners in the broader nonprofit community. Our efforts are only successful when supported by your actions.  Thank you!

January 4, 2013

IRA Charitable Rollover Returns!

The IRA Charitable Rollover provision was reinstated for 2012 and 2013 in the tax deal signed into law this week. The IRA Rollover provision has proven to generate new and increased charitable donations for orchestras in the years it has been available. In the course of its history, the IRA Rollover has expired and been renewed several times, leaving many donors confused about the status. Here are the facts:

2012:
The IRA Rollover expired at the end of 2011, but is now retroactively reinstated for 2012. If any donors aged 70 ½ and older had instructed their IRA administrators to make a distribution of up to $100,000 directly to a charity during 2012, that distribution will not be treated as taxable income for 2012. However, Congress recognized that few donors would have done this, since the provision had not yet been reinstated. So, the law now includes two additional opportunities for individuals to take advantage of the IRA Rollover incentive for the 2012 tax year:

  • IRA Rollover gifts made through January 31, 2013 may count as 2012 contributions.
  • Qualifying personal IRA distributions taken by individuals in the month of December 2012 can be counted as a "charitable rollover" if contributed to a charity as cash by January 31, 2013. Since many IRA owners take their mandatory distribution at the end of the year, this is an opportunity to transfer that distribution to a charity without treating it as taxable income.

2013:
The IRA Charitable Rollover Provision is reinstated for 2013. This means that donors aged 70 ½ and older can instruct their IRA administrators to make tax-free distributions of up to $100,000 directly from their IRAs to charitable organizations through December 31, 2013.

It is always wise to advise donors to contact their IRA administrator and/or tax advisors for more detail as you inform them that this important charitable giving incentive is once again available.

Next Steps: The League, in partnership with you, will continue to advocate to Congress for the IRA Rollover to be made permanent. In the meantime, please feel welcome to contact Heather Noonan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) or Najean Lee (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) with questions, or examples of how the IRA Rollover has benefitted the work of your orchestra.

January 3, 2013

Short-Term Cliff Deal Reinstates IRA Rollover and "Pease" Provision

Washington, D.C. – The tax deal passed by Congress on January 1 has encouraging but mixed results for charitable giving, and leaves much further work to be done throughout the coming year. The “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012”, as the bill is named, protects communities from the most dramatic caps to charitable deductions that were under consideration, reinstates the IRA Charitable Rollover provision, but also includes reinstatement of a more modest limit to all deductions for higher-income earners. Because the deal is a short-term fix to the fiscal cliff, we can expect further advocacy needed in the months ahead as Congress deals with the unfinished business of mandatory spending cuts and tax reform.

Charitable Giving Incentives: The cliff package does not include a flat percentage or dollar cap on charitable giving incentives as had been feared in the final weeks of 2012.  It does, however, reinstate the so-called “Pease” limitation on all itemized deductions for families earning over $300,000 per year ($250,000 for individuals). The provision first took effect in 1991 as a federal revenue generator, but was gradually phased out in the 2006-10 tax years as part of a larger effort at tax simplification.  The League and the broader nonprofit community had called on Congress to exempt charitable donations from the Pease provision. However, beginning with the 2013 tax year, the provision will reduce all tax deductions, including charitable deductions, by 3% of the amount that adjusted gross income exceeds the $300,000/$250,000 thresholds. The Pease provision was set to return as part of the expiring Bush tax cuts, and has been on the table as a revenue generator throughout the fiscal cliff negotiations as it had been included in the President’s FY13 budget request, in the “Buffet Rule” proposals that were in play in the House and Senate in 2012, and in a tax package passed by the Senate last summer. Implementation of the Pease provision is complicated, so please see this sample scenario for more details.

IRA Charitable Rollover Reinstated: The IRA Charitable Rollover provision was also reinstated for 2012 and 2013 in the tax deal Congress passed yesterday. The IRA Rollover provision has proven to generate new and increased charitable donations. It permits donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000, but had expired at the end of 2011. Under the bill passed yesterday:

  • The IRA Rollover is reinstated retroactively for 2012, and is available through 2013.
  • IRA Rollover gifts made through January 31, 2013 will count as 2012 contributions.
  • Qualifying personal IRA distributions taken in the month of December 2012 can be counted as a “charitable rollover” if contributed to a charity as cash by January 31, 2013.

Thank You – and Prepare for More in 2013!  Orchestra advocates sent nearly 4,000 communications to Congress urging protection against caps on charitable giving incentives and immediate reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. The League will continue to amplify your voice in Washington as budget negotiations and tax reform debates continue. As a reminder, you can always find the latest news and key developments relating to tax policy in our dedicated issue area center within the League's website.

December 18, 2012

Tell Washington to Protect the Charitable Deduction in Fiscal Cliff Deal!

Your voice is needed urgently! There are reports that the latest negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker Boehner to avoid the “fiscal cliff” continue to include limits to the tax deductibility of charitable giving. Nonprofit organizations are mobilizing nationwide to voice their opposition to any limits imposed onto the charitable deduction.

Call the White House (202-456-1111) and the Speaker (202-225-0600) RIGHT NOW and give the operator this message:

  • Limiting the charitable deduction limits the work of nonprofits serving community needs. Don’t hurt those who truly benefit – the people who rely on their local nonprofit organizations. Don’t limit charitable giving incentives!  
  • Give your name, city, and state, and tell what charitable giving means to the work that your orchestra does.

Orchestras have sent more than 3,000 communications to the Hill, urging Congress to protect the charitable deduction.  You can continue to weigh in with your Representative and Senators with our ready-to-use online advocacy campaign. Simply personalize the letter with a few details about your orchestra and emails will be sent to all three of your elected officials at once.

Please spread the word and tell your colleagues, friends, and family who care about the work and services nonprofit organizations provide. The White House phone line is open from 9am to 5pm Eastern.

December 4, 2012

Act Now:  Charitable Giving Incentives Threatened!

As Congress debates how to avoid the looming “fiscal cliff,” the deductibility of charitable contributions hangs in the balance. Policymakers are considering a wide range of proposals to reduce the tax incentive for charitable giving - including capping the dollar amount allowable for all itemized tax deductions, or reducing the rate of deductibility - in an effort to generate new federal revenue.

Your participation is needed to help Congress understand that limiting the charitable deduction would harm nonprofit services in communities nationwide.

The League is partnering with the broader nonprofit sector to urge Congress and the White House to preserve tax incentives for charitable giving. Today and tomorrow, orchestra advocates are encouraged to participate in "Protect Giving - DC Days" alongside representatives from a broad cross-section of nonprofit organizations.

WE NEED YOUR VOICE. Please contact your Members of Congress today to urge them to preserve charitable giving incentives as the tax reform debates continue. Tell them how charitable contributions support the unique, essential services your orchestra provides in your community.

Thank you in advance for your participation! Complete information - including talking points, background, and a sample letter to Congress - is available in the League's tax policy advocacy center. Please feel welcome to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

URGE CONGRESS TO PROTECT CHARITABLE GIVING INCENTIVES TODAY

July 30, 2012

UBIT Draws Attention of Congress and IRS

House lawmakers have begun a series of hearings on an array of nonprofit tax issues, as Congress contemplates tax reform efforts that may unfold after the election cycle. In a hearing on July 25, the IRS, several Ways & Means Committee members, and a nonprofit scholar concluded that the current rules for reporting unrelated business income tax (UBIT) are confusing, and may lead to under-payment of taxes on income. While no specific reform proposals were outlined by the committee members, orchestra and museum sales of merchandise were both mentioned as questionable areas of activity by one witness, a nonprofit scholar from the University of Illinois, who recommended taxing all nonprofit commercial activity, whether or not it is related to the charitable purpose of the organization. Background and resources regarding the current UBIT rules are available on the IRS web site.

July 17, 2012

What to Do on THEIR Summer Vacation: Meet with Congress

Washington, D.C. - Meetings and events in your own backyard can be the most effective way to connect with your members of Congress. What you say and show to your Senators and Representative can have a direct impact on the way they support your orchestra.

The stakes are very high, and we need your voice to be heard as we brace for the blizzard of policy decisions that will be made just following the elections.

Members of Congress will break and go to their home districts and states August 4 through September 9 before returning to D.C. to consider spending bills and potential changes to charitable giving incentives in the context of short-term or comprehensive tax reform.

It is essential that you, as a representative of your orchestra, meet with federal lawmakers and their staff to demonstrate the vital benefits provided in your community. Explain how important your tax exempt status, charitable giving incentives, and federal support are to fulfilling the public mission of your organization. Click on any of the following issues to find key talking points prepared for you:

Key Issues for Orchestras:

Start Making Your Plans Today!

Contact your members of Congress now and set up a time for them to observe a community-based program, attend a summer concert, or simply meet to discuss how your orchestra provides public value. As always, we invite you to share your advocacy stories with us and contact League Government Affairs staff with any questions. We will reinforce your meetings with key contacts in Washington, D.C., and will keep you informed of further policy developments.

May 16, 2012

House Committee Weighs Nonprofit Public Value

Today, the U.S. House oversight committee on Ways and Means held the first in a series of hearings regarding tax-exempt organizations. The witnesses included nonprofit leaders, scholars, and representatives of hospitals and higher education groups. Throughout the questioning and testimony, some members of Congress and policy experts discussed whether the basis for tax exemption and eligibility for charitable contributions should be re-examined, based on how much community benefit organizations are producing. While related legislation has not yet been offered, these hearings will set the stage for a frenzy of end-of-year tax policies that will likely be debated following the November elections and prior to the close of the calendar year. Please stay tuned as the League keeps you informed of advocacy opportunities and, in the meantime, make use of the Public Value Toolkit available to member orchestras.

February 14, 2012

The Year Ahead and the President’s New Budget Proposal

Yesterday the President announced his newest budget plan, which seeks to meet the mandate of deficit reduction through a combination of strategic revenue measures and funding allocations. Below are the highlights of the tax and spending policies that impact orchestras and the broader arts and nonprofit communities. While the many distractions of the election cycle will slow - if not altogether thwart – progress on major budget decisions and tax reform, the President’s budget request sets the tone for the Congressional action to come.

  • Nonprofit Tax Policy: The President’s budget plan once again proposes decoupling the value of tax deductions from income tax rates, capping deductions – including the charitable deduction – at 28% for individual taxpayers earning more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000. Congress has previously rejected identical proposals from the Administration in the past few years, and key tax policymakers have objected to the negative impact the proposal would have on charitable contributions. The President also proposes to enact what is known as the “Buffett Rule,” which would apply a minimum 30% tax rate for those with adjusted gross incomes above $1 million, while protecting charitable giving. Related “Buffet Rule” bills have already been introduced in the House and Senate and would maintain charitable giving incentives by providing a credit equal to the value of a tax deduction. While the protections for charitable giving incentives are an important recognition of the unique value of charitable deductions, the President’s proposal to cap deductibility at 28% has met strong opposition in the nonprofit community.The President's proposal also supports reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. Orchestras are asking Congress to preserve charitable giving incentives.

As the coming months unfold, Congress will take action on numerous policies impacting orchestras – your advocacy will be essential! Whether it’s wireless microphone policies, artist visa issues, or major tax and spending decisions, the League has prepared advocacy materials to make it easy for you to make your voice heard, in partnership with the extended arts and nonprofit communities. Please visit our advocacy center and weigh in on the full range of policy issues that impact your orchestra. Now is the time to develop a dialogue with your members of Congress. As always, we will keep you posted about key policy developments.

February 2, 2012

Act Now to Restore IRA Rollover

At the end of 2011, an important charitable giving incentive – the IRA Rollover – expired amidst congressional wrangling over budget priorities. In advance of a Senate hearing earlier this week on a number of expired tax provisions, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) vowed "to find a bipartisan path forward," adding that "it is critical to extend these tax provisions early in the year to maximize their effect and provide certainty for the 2012 tax year."

¨As Congress attempts to come to agreement on various tax proposals with many moving parts, please speak up now to ensure that the final product will include a provision to reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover.

The IRA Charitable Rollover provision has spurred new and increased giving to orchestras and thousands of other nonprofit organizations, supporting the valuable public benefits nonprofits share with their communities. On December 31, 2011, the IRA Charitable Rollover expired along with a number of other tax provisions. The IRA Rollover allowed donors 70 ½ and older to make up to $100,000 in charitable contributions directly from their individual retirement accounts (IRA), without paying taxes on the withdrawal.

Please CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY to ask for immediate restoration of this important charitable giving incentive. The League has prepared an easy-to-use advocacy tool, linked below. Please be sure to personalize the sample message with information about how contributions to your orchestra benefit your community. Thank you!

CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS TODAY!

December 1, 2011

Charitable Giving Update: 'Tis the Season

A recent survey by Charity Navigator found that gifts made from Thanksgiving to New Years account for, on average, 41% of annual charitable giving received by responding nonprofit organizations. As the League continues to be your advocate in Washington in defense of charitable giving incentives, please take note of the following quick updates:��

The IRA Charitable Rollover remains in effect until December 31, 2011!Be sure your donors know that if they are 70 ½ or older they can transfer up to $100,000 of tax-free gifts directly from their IRAs. This has proven to be a significant incentive for donors to make new and increased contributions to orchestras. The IRA Rollover has come and gone in recent years, leaving many donors confused about its availability. Please share more information about the IRA Rollover with any potential donors. Orchestras have joined the broader nonprofit community in calling on Congress to extend the IRA rollover beyond 2011.

Threats to Charitable Giving Incentives will continue into 2012 at the state and federal levels. After the deficit reduction Super-Committee failed to accomplish its task, proposals to curtail federal tax incentives for charitable giving will likely remain on the table as the tax committees in Congress determine next steps for increasing federal revenue.

Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts will be particularly vulnerable as Congress wrestles with spending decisions in the coming months. The NEA has just announced the first round of FY12 grants and, in anticipation of potential budget cuts, is already contemplating smaller and fewer grants to organizations in FY13. These grants are key to directly supporting orchestras and stimulating private contributions.â?¨â?¨Please continue to raise your voice in response to League policy action alerts. The League’s capacity to represent your interests before Congress and the White House is completely dependent on your participation and communication with your elected officials. Stay tuned for further League policy updates.

November 16, 2011

Weigh in Now on Charitable Giving Incentives

Orchestras have sent more than 1,000 messages to Congress urging policymakers to protect incentives for charitable giving as the debate over deficit reduction moves ahead. Have you made your voice heard? In just one week, the deficit reduction "SuperCommittee" is set to issue recommendations for increasing revenue and decreasing federal spending over the course of the next 10 years. Several proposals to limit tax incentives for charitable giving have been on the table in the final negotiations.

Tell Congress that:

  • Charitable giving is a significant revenue source for a broad range of nonprofit organizations, which cannot withstand even slight declines in contributions given the fragility of all revenue sources.
  • Unlike other tax deductions, charitable giving incentives do not increase the wealth of individual donors: they are an investment in the public good.
  • Changes to charitable giving incentives in the interest of short-term revenue gain will have lasting unintended consequences for nonprofit services and jobs.

Contact Congress: The League has set up an e-advocacy campaign with a sample letter to Congress, talking points, and complete background on this pivotal policy issue. Please contact your members of Congress today to let them know how your orchestra serves the public and how essential charitable giving is to that work. Be sure to personalize your message with details about your orchestra. Policymakers have been surprised to learn that orchestras count on private contributions for roughly 40% of the revenue that enables them to serve communities through music.

CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY!

October 20, 2011

The League is highly engaged in advocacy in Washington, D.C. as the nonprofit community responds to proposals to change the deductibility of charitable giving. As we’ve reported to you, Congress has been debating a proposal by President Obama to cap the deductibility of gifts at 28%. While leaders on the Hill indicate that the President’s proposal is off the table for the time being, a wide range of possible changes to the deductibility of giving are still being considered as Congress debates budget priorities and broader tax reform. It is essential that orchestras continue to speak up in defense of tax incentives for charitable giving, and in support of the considerable public value orchestras offer to communities as tax exempt organizations.

Just this week, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing addressing a broad array of tax reform proposals. In advance of the hearing, four representatives of orchestras traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet in key offices on the Hill to share personal stories of the value of charitable giving in support of orchestral activity. Our thanks to the following for their extraordinary advocacy: Richard Dare, CEO & Managing Director of the Brooklyn Philharmonic; David Gross, President of the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Bob Wagner, Principal Bassoonist for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra; and, Cathy Weiskel, Executive Director of the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestras. During this week’s hearing, Ranking Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) voiced his support for the unique public value of the nonprofit arts and urged his colleagues to resist changes to the tax deductibility of gifts.

Thank you all for doing your part. Orchestras have sent more than one thousand letters to the Hill in support of preserving tax incentives for charitable giving. Please continue to make your voice heard by meeting with your members of Congress when they are in their home state and districts, using our e-advocacy center to send customizable messages, and responding when League staff in D.C. contact you for your help.

In addition to contacting policymakers directly, it is critically important that orchestras participate in the combined efforts of the broader nonprofit community. Please take two minutes to sign onto a letter in support of protecting nonprofits from potential declines in charitable giving, hosted by the National Council of Nonprofits. Add your voice to those of other nonprofits in your state urging Congress to use caution in considering any modification to incentives for charitable giving.

September 23, 2011

Charitable Giving Incentives and Nonprofit Jobs at Stake

Your advocacy is needed NOW to help defend charitable giving incentives. As Congress considers the President's jobs plan and wrangles over how to generate revenue to meet new debt limit requirements, proposals to curtail the income tax deduction for gifts to 501(c)(3) organizations are in play.

The President has proposed limiting deductibility for charitable gifts to 28% for higher income tax payers, which could reduce charitable giving by as much as $7 billion per year. This proposal was included in the Obama FY12 budget proposal and is also included in the jobs package released yesterday.

Tell Congress that the nonprofit community represents a major segment of the workforce (1 in 10 workers) and is essential to strengthening the vitality of communities nationwide. Reducing charitable giving incentives would weaken the charitable sector at a time when nonprofit jobs and services are needed most.

Contact Congress: The League has set up an e-advocacy campaign with a sample letter to Congress, talking points, and complete background on this pivotal policy issue. Please contact your members of Congress today to let them know how your orchestra serves the public, and how essential charitable giving is to that work. Be sure to personalize your message with details about your orchestra. Policymakers have been surprised to learn that orchestras count on private contributions for roughly 40% of the revenue that enables them to serve communities through music.

CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY!

July 27, 2011

Orchestras rely on private contributions for roughly 40% of the revenue that enables them to serve their communities. As pressure intensifies on Congress and the White House to address the debt limit, lawmakers say everything is on the table. This week, the Gang of Six policy negotiators announced that unspecified changes to the deductibility of charitable contributions are potentially in play.

The League is taking a proactive role, in strategic partnerships with the broader nonprofit sector, to defend and strengthen tax incentives for charitable giving. In addition to targeted meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the League added its name to a nonprofit letter to the White House and a recent letter to Congress , urging policy leaders to support the vital work of the nonprofit sector by preserving tax incentives for contributions. For complete information, see the League’s online tax policy action center.

May 2, 2011

Tax and Deficit Debates Endanger Charitable Giving Incentives

As the momentum for tax reform and deficit reduction increases, Congress is considering proposals to curtail or eliminate the income tax deduction for gifts to 501(c)(3) organizations, including the nonprofit arts. Congress must fully understand the impact on charitable giving before taking action, and should protect giving incentives that support the valuable community services provided by the full range of nonprofit organizations.

  • The President's FY12 budget proposal to limit deductibility for charitable gifts to 28% for higher income tax payers could reduce charitable giving by as much as $7 billion per year.
  • Far too little is known about what the impact on giving might be under the proposal by the President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, which recommends replacing the charitable deduction with a 12% credit for charitable gifts that exceed 2% of an individual's adjusted gross income.
  • Altogether eliminating the deduction for charitable gifts would produce an estimated 25 to 36% decrease in annual giving.
  • This is the first in a series of League alerts you will recieve as Congressional action builds during the summer, and we will keep you posted as specific proposals gain traction. In the meantime, here are three easy steps for your orchestra to take:

1. Contact Congress: The League has set up an e-advocacy campaign with a sample letter to Congress, talking points, and complete background on this pivotal policy issue. Please contact your members of Congress today to let them know how your orchestra serves the public, and how essential charitable giving is to that work. Be sure to personalize your message with details about your orchestra. Policymakers have been surprised to learn that orchestras count on contributions for roughly 40% of the revenue that enables them to serve communities through music.

CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY!

2. Invite Elected Officials to See Your Orchestra in Action: Check our Congressional Recess Calendar to learn when your members of Congress are likely to be home, and invite them to see your programs in action. No form of advocacy is as effective as providing policymakers with the opportunity to experience firsthand the community benefit your orchestra provides.

3. Keep Us Informed: The League is directly representing orchestras in key meetings on Capitol Hill, in close partnership with the broader nonprofit and philanthropic community. Please be in touch to tell us about your interactions with members of Congress.

December 17, 2010

Congress Reinstates IRA Rollover for 2010 and 2011

Just after midnight last night, a top policy priority for orchestras and the broader nonprofit community met with success! Congress has approved a broad tax package that includes reinstatement of the IRA Charitable Rollover giving incentive. This giving incentive is retroactively reinstated for gifts made during 2010, and extended throughout 2011. Also, gifts made by January 31, 2011 may be recognized as 2010 gifts for tax purposes.

On December 31, 2009, the IRA Charitable Rollover expired along with a number of other tax provisions. Be sure to inform donors that this important charitable giving incentive is once again available. The IRA Rollover allows donors 70 1/2 and older to make up to $100,000 in charitable contributions directly from their individual retirement accounts (IRA), without paying federal taxes on the withdrawal. This has proven to be an important giving incentive, resulting in new and increased charitable giving to orchestras and the full range of nonprofit organizations.

IRA Charitable Rollover - Highlights

  • Permits donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable gifts directly from their IRAs
  • Caps qualifying gifts to an annual ceiling of $100,000
  • For 2010 tax purposes, applies to gifts made January 1, 2010 through January 31, 2011
  • For 2011, expires December 31, 2011

Learn More About the IRA Charitable Rollover

December 13, 2010

Weigh in Now to Restore IRA Rollover

Congress is attempting to come to agreement this week on a broad tax package with many moving parts. Speak up now to ensure that the final product will include a provision to reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover.

As the quotes from orchestras below demonstrate, the IRA Charitable Rollover provision has spurred new and increased giving to orchestras and thousands of other nonprofit organizations, supporting the valuable public benefits nonprofits share with their communities:

“One donor increased his annual gift by 10 times the usual amount, due to the IRA Rollover Provision. Others are just getting used to the possibilities the IRA Rollover provides.”

“I have personally seen the Rollover encourage larger gifts on the part of many generous individuals.”

“We depend on charitable gifts for approximately two-thirds of our annual revenue …The IRA Rollover has been instrumental in contributing to this needed support every year since it began, and this year resulted in the largest single gift ever to our orchestra.”

On December 31, 2009, the IRA Charitable Rollover expired along with a number of other tax provisions. The IRA Rollover allowed donors 70 1/2 and older to make up to $100,000 in charitable contributions directly from their individual retirement accounts (IRA), without paying taxes on the withdrawal.

Please CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY to ask for immediate restoration of this important charitable giving incentive. The League has prepared an easy-to-use advocacy tool, linked below. Please be sure to personalize the sample message with information about how contributions to your orchestra benefit your community. Thank you!

Contact Your Members of Congress Today!

Stay Tuned for the Results

The League will keep you posted about the outcome of Congressional action. The most recent version of the IRA Charitable Rollover proposal under consideration would reinstate this giving incentive for 2010 and extend it through 2011. Additionally, IRA Rollover charitable contributions made throughout January 2011 would be recognized as 2010 gifts for tax purposes. We will keep you posted on final action so that your orchestra can inform donors.

August 30, 2010

Sign up to Support Nonprofit Sector Legislation

The League of American Orchestras is a proud early supporter of the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in June. This landmark legislation would strengthen America's communities by making the federal government a more productive partner with nonprofit organizations by establishing 1) better communication with the federal government, 2) better coordination within government, and 3) enhanced data collection and research. Please join us today in showing your support for the Nonprofit Sector and Community Solutions Act by adding your organization's name to the list of nonprofit supporters. Further information about this effort is available from the National Council of Nonprofits.

July 23, 2010

Spotlight turns to Form 990 Compliance

Nonprofit organizations that fail to file the required IRS Form 990 for three consecutive years face potential revocation of tax-exempt status. As 2010 is the first year in which this penalty may be applied to organizations failing to comply, a great deal of media attention has turned to smaller-budget nonprofits that may have unwittingly put their status in jeopardy. The IRS has begun an initiative to help those organizations come into compliance and to better inform the nonprofit community of the Form 990 filing requirements. A helpful overview about how to file is available from Independent Sector, and a comprehensive webinar about completing the Form 990 is available from the League.

June 25, 2010

On June 25, President Obama signed into law temporary pension funding relief as part of a comprehensive package addressing medicare benefits. Following are the pension relief provisions included in the new law:

The law provides pension funding relief for single- and multi-employer defined benefit pension plans by giving them more time to absorb losses attributable to the market downturn and ensuing economic slow-down.

Single Employer Plans

Employers would be given two options to spread out their statutory pension funding obligations.

  • The first option would allow employers to pay back their pension shortfall over 15 years (instead of seven) for any two plans years from 2008 to 2011.
  • The second option would allow employers to make interest-only payments in the two years chosen with the shortfall amortized over the following seven years.

Multi-Employer Plans

  • Plans would be able to spread their 2008 investment losses over 30 years. Multi-employer plans would also be able to choose to smooth (i.e., average) their assets over 10 years (instead of five years). An analysis of the multi-employer provisions is available from the National Coordinating Committee for Multiemployer Plans.

The League joined a broad range of national nonprofit organizations calling for pension funding relief, urging Congress to enact legislation that would allow sponsors of defined benefit pension plans to recoup the shortfall for 2008 over a longer, more manageable period than allowed under the Pension Protection Act. The new funding relief provision is considered by most to be a step in the right direction, but not a complete resolution to the pension funding crisis.

April 1, 2010

New Rules for Independent Contractor Status Considered by States and Feds

Orchestras that classify musicians or staff as independent contractors should be aware of newly-emerging federal and state efforts to enforce and revise worker classification requirements. In an effort to increase payroll tax revenue (by as much as $7 billion over ten years), President Obama and Congressional leaders are proposing new rules that could effectively re-classify some current independent contractors as employees.

President Obama’s FY11 budget request for the IRS and Department of Labor would add 100 new staff positions dedicated to enforcing worker classification rules, and would create competitive grants to states to address misclassification. In addition to requesting funding from Congress, the Administration is proposing legislation that would enable the IRS to write new rules and regulations regarding classifying workers, and would change the 1978 tax law to:

  • shift the burden of proof to employers to demonstrate that their employees are classified correctly, with added reporting requirements;
  • revise the “safe harbor” provisions that currently protect organizations that classify workers as independent contractors from fines and penalties; and,
  • make misclassification a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, with accompanying steeper penalties.

Implementing these changes would require legislative action by Congress. Similar proposals have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate, but have not yet been taken up for consideration. Given the Administration’s focus on this - and the attractiveness of revenue-raisers in the context of the national budget deficit - the issue could gain traction this year. Meanwhile, the IRS and several states (including Maryland, Delaware, and Colorado) are stepping up audit and enforcement efforts under the current rules.

The League will keep you informed as the policy discussion moves ahead. In the meantime, any orchestra with questions regarding how to classify workers can consult the IRS website for guidance regarding the current rules. Note that businesses and the IRS alike agree that the current guidance for classifying workers is murky, at best. As such, any specific questions regarding classification should be addressed to qualified legal counsel.

March 19, 2010

President Sign Jobs Tax Relief

Yesterday, President Obama signed the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, a $17.6 billion bill which includes important payroll tax incentives for nonprofits to hire new workers. The tax provision exempts employers from paying a 6.2% share of Social Security payroll tax on each individual hired after February 3, 2010 who was unemployed for at least 60 days and who does not exceed the $106,800 social security wage base. The exemption applies to wages paid after March 18, 2010 and before January 1, 2011. Employers can save up to $6,622 per qualifying worker.

Further details are available from the IRS here.

March 11, 2010

If your orchestra runs a defined benefit pension plan or participates in the AFM multi-employer plan, please read on for important news regarding potential pension funding relief.

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed pension funding relief as part of a comprehensive jobs package. The overall bill now moves on to the House for final consideration. The League will keep you posted as the overall measure is finalized. In the meantime, following are the pension relief provisions included in the bill:

The bill would provide pension funding relief for single- and multi-employer defined benefit pension plans by giving them more time to absorb losses attributable to the 2008 market downturn and ensuing economic slow-down.

Single Employer Plans

Employers would be given two options to spread out their statutory pension funding obligations.

  • The first would allow employers to repay their pension shortfall over nine years (instead of seven), with interest-only payments in the first two years.
  • The second option would allow employers to pay back their pension shortfall over 15 years.

Multi-Employer Plans

  • Plans would be able to spread their 2008 investment losses over 30 years. Multi-employer plans would also be able to choose to smooth (i.e., average) their assets over 10 years (instead of five years).

The League has joined a broad range of national nonprofit organizations calling for pension funding relief, urging Congress to enact legislation that would allow sponsors of defined benefit pension plans to recoup the shortfall for 2008 over a longer, more manageable period than allowed under the Pension Protection Act.

The League will keep you posted as these pension relief provisions move ahead.

March 2, 2010

Your Voice - Their Vote. Weigh in Now to Restore IRA Rollover

“One donor increased his annual gift by 10 times the usual amount, due to the IRA Rollover Provision. Others are just getting used to the possibilities the IRA Rollover provides.”

“I have personally seen the Rollover encourage larger gifts on the part of many generous individuals.”

“We depend on charitable gifts for approximately two-thirds of our annual revenue …The IRA Rollover has been instrumental in contributing to this needed support every year since it began, and this year resulted in the largest single gift ever to our orchestra.”


This week, Congress will vote on whether to reinstate the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. Add your voice to the hundreds of other messages orchestras have sent to Congress demonstrating how the IRA Charitable Rollover provision spurred new and increased giving to orchestras and thousands of other nonprofit organizations.

On December 31, 2009, the IRA Charitable Rollover expired along with a number of other tax provisions, removing an important charitable giving incentive when it is needed most. In this tough economy, every incentive for charitable giving is essential. The IRA Rollover allowed donors to make charitable contributions directly from their retirement accounts, without paying taxes on the withdrawal.

Please CONTACT CONGRESS TODAY to ask for immediate restoration of this important charitable giving incentive. The Senate is scheduled to vote this week on reinstating and extending a number of expired tax provisions, including the IRA Charitable Rollover. Even if you have spoken up before, PLEASE WEIGH IN AGAIN as Congress makes key decisions about the next wave of legislation aimed to boost economic activity.

The League has prepared an easy-to-use advocacy tool for your use, linked below. Please be sure to personalize the sample message with information about your orchestra. Thank you!

Contact Your Members of Congress Today!

January 26, 2010

IRA Rollover Expires

On December 31st, the IRA Charitable Rollover expired along with a number of other tax provisions. The IRA Rollover allowed donors to make charitable contributions directly from their retirement accounts, without paying taxes on the withdrawal, and has proven to be an important incentive for new and increased donations to orchestras. The League and the broader nonprofit community are asking Congress to restore the IRA Rollover immediately and make the provision retroactive to gifts made beginning January 1. Thanks to the many orchestras who spoke up at the end of 2009 - please keep those emails to Congress coming. The most effective communications to the Hill include specific information about how the IRA Rollover has increased giving to your orchestra, and how those resources help you serve your community. The League will keep you posted on progress on this issue so that you, in turn, can communicate with your donors.

Weigh in to Restore the IRA Rollover

December 21, 2009

All Eyes on Senate as Tax and Health Care Measures Await Action

As the clock ticks down to the holidays, two measures of concern to orchestras and the broader nonprofit community await action.

The health care reform bill under debate in the Senate includes a provision that would provide relief to small businesses, including nonprofit organizations. The League and orchestras have weighed in with Congress to urge that nonprofits will be eligible for any incentives or relief for employers providing health insurance coverage. Senate leaders expect to vote on their bill by Christmas Eve.

Several tax provisions are set to expire December 31, including the IRA Charitable Rollover, an important incentive to charitable giving. The IRA Rollover allows donors to make a charitable gift directly from an IRA without the amount being subject to tax. If the provision is not extended by the year's end, it may be reinstated in 2010. The League and orchestras are calling on Congress to take immediate action to ensure that donors can make uninterrupted use of the IRA Charitable Rollover. The House passed an extension of the IRA Rollover on December 9. Senate action is uncertain as the health care debate remains center stage.

December 7, 2009

Act TODAY to Extend the IRA Charitable Rollover

Please contact your members of Congress TODAY! An important incentive to charitable giving is in jeopardy as 2009 quickly comes to a close. If Congress does not act before the end of this year, the IRA Charitable Rollover provision will expire on December 31. The IRA Rollover spurs new and increased giving to orchestras and thousands of other nonprofit organizations.

The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday, December 9 on extending a number of tax provisions. It is essential that your member of the House and Senators hear from you before Wednesday. Once the House completes action, the Senate will need to move rapidly to clear the extension before the IRA Rollover expires.

In this tough economy, every incentive for charitable giving is essential to supporting America’s nonprofit community. More than 30% of financial support for orchestras is derived from charitable giving. Without this support, public access to the arts would be greatly diminished. The IRA Rollover provision, which allows donors to make tax-free charitable contributions directly from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), was enacted in August 2006, expired in December 2007, and was reinstated in 2008.

The League has prepared an easy-to-use advocacy tool for your use, linked below. Please be sure to personalize the sample message with information about your orchestra. Thank you!

Contact Your Members of Congress Today!

November 2, 2009

Support Relief for Nonprofits in Health Care Legislation!

Please add your voice as the nonprofit community - the nation's fourth largest workforce, employing more than 13 million workers - asks Congress to provide the same credits and subsidies for health care coverage as are being offered to the for-profit business community.

In a recent survey by the Nonprofit Listening Post, a full third of responding orchestras that provide health insurance said the increasing cost is one of their organizations' top challenges. Among orchestras that do not provide health insurance, the high cost of premiums was the most significant prohibiting factor. These results are consistent across nonprofit employers.

This week, the House will begin debating its health care reform bill, while the Senate works to combine multiple reform proposals into a single bill.

Please contact your members of Congress and ask that health care reform provides nonprofit employers relief and incentives comparable to their for-profit counterparts.

While the League has not taken a position on other aspects of health care reform proposals under debate, we fully support improving our nation's health care system.

Contact Congress Today!

May 1, 2009

Tax Incentives Get Nod from Congress

Congress has just wrapped up its budget resolution - the nonbinding blueprint for how it will allocate federal resources. The broad outline includes some positive signs of support for measures that will help to stabilize and increase charitable contributions to orchestras and others in the nonprofit community. The resolution calls for a two-year extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover provision, which will expire at the end of 2009 if Congress does not act. Orchestra advocacy in 2008 on behalf of this giving incentive helped lead to its temporary reinstatement. The Congressional budget plan further signaled support for charitable giving incentives by omitting a proposal by President Obama that would offset the costs of health care reform by capping at 28% the deductibility of contributions by families earning more than $250,000. While these are early signs of Congressional support for charitable giving, the pressure is on in Washington to find resources to fund the shared priorities of Congress and the Administration (such as health care, education, and energy). The League will keep you informed as the debate moves ahead.

Read More About Tax Issues

March 13, 2009

Nonprofits Fear Cap on Deduction

President Obama's FY10 budget blueprint includes a proposal to cap at 28% the deductibility of contributions by families earning more than $250,000, to offset the costs of health care reform. The Obama proposal has come under public scrutiny in the press, key leaders on the Hill have indicated that they would oppose the limit, and members of the nonprofit community have objected to the policy, as it could potentially inhibit incentives to charitable giving. The Administration has recently indicated that it may be willing to seek other options to fund health care reform. The League is concerned that the cap on charitable deductions may negatively impact giving to orchestras. We are working in partnership with our nonprofit peers to address these concerns and will keep you posted on these policy developments.

See the League's Charitable Giving Issue Brief

November 6, 2008

Ready for the New Form 990?

As reported earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service is requiring nonprofit organizations to file a new version of the Form 990 to report on FY08 activity. On Wednesday, November 19, 2008 the League will be hosting a webinar for orchestra executive directors, finance professionals, and board chairs preparing to adapt to the new Form.

October 3, 2008

Congress Approves IRA Rollover Extension

In the last few hours remaining before Congress adjourns, a top policy priority for orchestras and the broader nonprofit community has met with success! Today, Congress approved a two-year extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover provision. Over the past week, orchestras sent nearly 500 messages to Congress urging support for the measure, using the League's new advocacy technology. The IRA Rollover was included in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act passed by Congress and is now headed to the White House for the President's signature.

Find Complete Background and Details

September 25, 2008

Last Chance to Speak Up for IRA Rollover!

Congress is on the verge of adjourning, and it is debating whether to pass a package of tax extenders that would include the IRA Rollover. Orchestras have received increased and new donations as a result of the IRA Charitable Rollover. Your advocacy can help convince Congress to reinstate this important measure. The provision, which allowed donors to make tax-free charitable contributions directly from their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA), was enacted in August 2006, but expired in December 2007. While legislation reinstating the IRA Rollover has broad bipartisan support, there is a tiny window of opportunity for passage this year. Your advocacy is needed to ensure that Congress makes this issue a priority during this short, election-year legislative session.

Take Action by Emailing Your Orchestra's Elected Officials

April 22, 2008

IRA Rollover Gains Momentum!

Momentum is building in support of the IRA Rollover, which expired in December 2007. On April 17, a package of tax-related measures was introduced in the Senate, including a provision reinstating the IRA Rollover. The Senate also supported the IRA Rollover in its budget resolution, and the President included it in his budget request.

Reinstating the IRA Charitable Rollover will increase donations to the nation's nonprofit community. The IRA Rollover was enacted as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 and permitted donors age 70 ½ and older to make tax-free charitable donations directly from their IRAs, up to an annual ceiling of $100,000. There is a small window of opportunity for passage this year and your advocacy is needed to ensure that Congress makes this issue a priority during this short, election-year legislative session.

Learn more

February 1, 2008

IRS Revises Form 990

The form used by nonprofits to annually report to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has undergone significant revisions. Beginning in May 2009, organizations with gross annual receipts over $1 million or total assets over $2.5 million will be required to file the new Form 990 to report on FY08 activity. The transition for smaller-budget organizations will be phased in more gradually. The League filed comments to the IRS as the Form 990 was re-designed. The final Form 990 reflects some improvements over previous drafts, eliminating potentially misleading percentage-based summaries and gradually increasing the threshold for organizations that can file the Form 990N e-postcard.

See the New Form 990

December 19, 2007

IRA Rollover Action Uncertain

As Congress wraps up work for 2007, it has still neglected to address the extension of the IRA Charitable Rollover Provision. The provision, which allows individuals aged 70 ½ and older to make charitable gifts from their IRAs tax-free up to a total of $100,000 per year, is set to expire December 31, 2007 -- just over one year after its enactment. Congress may take up a tax bill early in 2008, providing an opportunity to revive this important giving incentive. Thank you for weighing in on this important issue and please stay tuned for further updates.

Find More on Tax Policy

December 13, 2007

The IRA Charitable Rollover provision is set to expire December 31, and has been caught in the middle of a political tug of war as the House and Senate debate a broad tax package. Whether you are an orchestra professional or donor (or both!), please contact your members of Congress and urge them to extend this important charitable giving incentive. The clock is ticking!

Take Action Now

November 20, 2007

IRA Extension Still Uncertain

Set to expire on December 31st, the IRA Charitable Rollover provision is caught in the middle of a political tug of war as the House and Senate debate a broad tax package. The provision, which allows individuals aged 70 ½ and older to make charitable gifts from their IRAs tax-free up to a total of $100,000 per year, was enacted in August 2006 and has already proved to spur new charitable gifts to orchestras and other nonprofit organizations. A one-year extension of the IRA rollover has broad congressional support and is included in a larger package of popular tax relief extenders that would also include a fix to the controversial Alternative Minimum Tax. As the clock ticks away, the House and Senate are in a showdown over how to pay for the overall tax package.

pdf Learn More About the IRA Rollover 35.81 Kb

Congress Eyes Charities and the Public Good

Congressional hearings are calling into question the public benefits provided by the diverse range of organizations that make up the nation's charitable sector. The House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee held a September hearing examining how nonprofits serve the needs of diverse communities. Meanwhile, Senate discussions have probed how higher education and hospitals provide community benefits and devote resources to people in need. Conversations at the national level are being echoed as some states and localities under financial strain reconsider tax benefits for nonprofits. On October 9, the League collaborated with the America Arts Alliance to submit testimony to the House Ways and Means committee, advocating for the unique benefits provided by nonprofit performing arts organizations sustaining vibrant communities across the country.

View Quick Orchestra Facts

September 27, 2007

League Comments on Future Form 990

As the IRS contemplates major changes to the way nonprofit organizations report activity on the Form 990, the League and the broader nonprofit sector have weighed in. While the IRS hopes the new Form will enhance transparency, promote tax compliance, and minimize the burden on filing organizations, certain proposed revisions have raised concerns. In comments to the IRS on behalf of orchestras, the League asks the IRS to:

  • Remove out-of-context summary financial information from the new Form
  • Address the potential unintended consequences of reporting information about music libraries and archives
  • Ease the filing burden for smaller organizations
  • Allow ample time for nonprofits to understand the new Form and adjust their record-keeping before implementation


In addition to these orchestra-specific comments, the League participated in discussions regarding the comprehensive comments filed by Independent Sector on behalf of the broader nonprofit and philanthropic community. While the IRS proposes implementing a new form for fiscal year 2008 activity, nonprofits are strongly urging the Service to delay implementing the new Form until fiscal year 2009.

Read League Comments