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Policy Update | July 25

Jul 23, 2019

What Will Your Organization Do to Promote the 2020 Census?

The Census affects data, dollars, and democracy in communities throughout the United States. With Census Day (April 1, 2020) quickly approaching, does your nonprofit or for-profit business have a plan to get the word out about the Census? If so, please take 10 minutes to let us know what you have in mind. If not, no worries. We still would like to know your perspective on the Census, what would help your organization get involved, and any questions or concerns you have. We ask that you respond to this survey of businesses and nonprofits by Thursday August 8.

Update on Census Outreach Grant Program Committee

As established by HB 19-1239, the Census outreach program grant committee held a stakeholder meeting on July 8 to answer questions about the $6 million grant program for outreach, promotion, and education focused on hard-to-count communities in Colorado for Census 2020. The recording of the committee meeting and the draft policies and procedures can be accessed at Department of Local Affairs website. The application portal will be open by August 15 with a deadline of September 15.

How is the new transportation tax affecting your nonprofit organization?

Your feedback is needed by Friday July 26 to help members of Congress understand the impact of the new income tax on the parking spaces, transit passes, and other transportation benefits nonprofits provide to their employees.  If your organization has been affected by this new income tax on tax-exempt organizations, responding to this survey informs the efforts of the National Council of Nonprofits, and our efforts, to help Congress understand the costs of this tax and advocate for repeal. 

Decline of Charitable Deductions (National Council of Nonprofits)

Itemized charitable deductions fell by $54 billion this past year, according to a recent article in MarketWatch. The IRS reported that only 11 million taxpayers claimed itemized deductions in 2018 for charitable contributions compared to 31 million taxpayers in 2017. It’s likely that the drop in itemized charitable deductions is closely related to the standard deduction increase in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. “Just because someone isn’t itemizing anymore doesn’t mean they aren’t still giving,” said Rick Cohen of the National Council of Nonprofits. “Most of the people who are no longer itemizing are (hopefully) still giving, but studies show that they may not give as much.” 

Citizenship Question Left off 2020 Census Form; Focus Shifts to a Complete Count (adapted from National Council of Nonprofits)

On July 11, the President announced that the Census 2020 form would not contain a citizenship question. Instead, he issued an executive order directing federal agencies to share information with the Department of Commerce regarding the immigration status of individuals participating in federal programs. Find out more about the Supreme Court ruling on the question and what nonprofits can do to ensure a complete count from National Council of Nonprofits by reading “What the US Supreme Court Citizenship Case Means for Nonprofits” in Nonprofit Quarterly.  Last year, in written comments, we expressed concerns that including the question would have a chilling effect on Census response rates.

Promoting Disaster Tax Relief (from National Council of Nonprofits)

Nonprofits would receive support for disaster relief efforts under a new federal bill by Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC). The Tax Relief and Expedited Assistance for Disasters Act of 2019 (TREAD Act) would temporarily suspend certain limitations on charitable contributions and allow for automatic filing extensions for certain tax forms, among other things. Last month, we joined other state association members of the National Council of Nonprofits to submit tax policy recommendations to the Senate Finance Committee to support the work of nonprofits during times of disaster relief and recovery.

Fighting for Student Loan Forgiveness (from National Council of Nonprofits)

The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) is suing U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos alleging that thousands of eligible candidates have been denied relief under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Recent data show that less than one percent of borrowers (518 out of 75,000 people), including nonprofit and public sector employees, successfully received loan forgiveness. The Department of Education has argued that borrowers did not meet the eligibility requirements of the program under the complex federal law. AFT asked for restoration of the program to legal standards, as well as an appeals process for those who believe they have been wrongfully denied loan forgiveness.

Making the Call for Cosponsors (from National Council of Nonprofits)

Members of Congress issued a Dear Colleague Letter asking fellow Representatives to cosponsor two bills that directly affect nonprofits’ bottom lines:

  • The Stop the Tax Hike on Charities and Places of Worship Act (H.R. 1223) would repeal the 21 percent unrelated business income tax on expenses nonprofits incur providing employee transportation benefits, such as transit subsidies and parking.

  • The Nonprofit Relief Act of 2019 (H.R. 3323) would repeal the new tax that requires nonprofits to treat every unrelated business revenue stream as a separate “trade or business” that may not be aggregated with their other profits and losses in calculating tax liabilities. The bill would also make the employer paid leave tax credit available to tax-exempt organizations and change the volunteer mileage reimbursements to exempt them from federal and state income taxes. 

Both bills would be paid for by increasing the corporate tax rate by less than one-tenth of one percent. The National Council of Nonprofits calls on nonprofits to alert their Representatives to this co-sponsorship opportunity.

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