…that you might like to return: The new tax bill, signed into law by President Trump the other day.
The gloom-and-doomers that are worried about churches and other charities losing revenue as a result of the tax policy changes in the new bill (most provisions go into effect January 1, 2018) are thinking along these lines:
- Those who give to save on taxes would save less if their tax rates are lowered; thus, there is less incentive to give to their church or other charity.
- Because the standard deduction is being doubled, less taxpayers will be itemizing their deduction. Charitable giving is one of the major areas that filers itemize so some may feel less incentive to give to their church if they aren’t going to itemize deductions.
There are other disincentives to charitable giving in the tax bill but these are the two big ones.
The tax bill does throw charitable giving into uncharted territory in that the tax saving incentives for giving to churches and other charities are drastically changed. Naturally, those who depend on charitable giving are concerned about the impact.
In churches I’ve pastored there have always been a few people whose income and tax exposure were such that they would give a year end gift to the church to lower their tax bill. Other than these few, I doubt many church members thought much about their tax bill when writing their checks to the church for the Lord’s work.
I’m not buying the gloom-and-doom. People that support our churches do so because they believe it to be right, proper, and obedient to the Lord. This article seems to be a much less cynical, less apocalyptic view of charitable giving and the new tax law.
Besides, if churches depend heavily on government tax policy for their financial needs, maybe we ought to spend more time preaching and teaching biblical stewardship and less time complaining about tax incentives and disincentives.
One thing that the new tax bill might do, though, is motivate some wealthy church members to give more in 2017, since the tax savings will be less beginning next year. I’d guess that most wealthy members are more savvy about tax matters and already know this. I would suggest perhaps an increased gift to the Lottie Moon offering as a good destination for that year-end gift.
Have a nice Christmas Eve service, brethren and sistren. And don’t be thinking about tax policy today.
…and I think I will make a year-end Lottie Moon gift of one million this year. I’m making the gift in my own personal cryptocurrency. It will be up to David Platt to figure out how to spend it. He’s a smart guy. I figure my cryptocurrency is as good as anyone elses. No need to thank me…I’m happy to be on the cutting edge here. I once read a book on Bitcoin and knew less after reading than when I started.