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Clicking a Button To Make a DonationNo matter which side of the political aisle you sit on, you’re probably wondering how the new tax code will affect you. The time for debate is over. We’re stuck with it until Congress reevaluates and implements something new. Every person’s situation is different. It’s not our intent to give specific tax advice, but to discuss the ramifications of one aspect of the tax code and how it might affect giving.

Charitable giving, taking care of the poor and giving to the church have been part of Scripture since it was first handed down to Moses.

"There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land" (Deuteronomy 15:11).

“Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord. If a man wishes to redeem some of his tithe, he shall add a fifth to it. And every tithe of herds and flocks, every tenth animal of all that pass under the herdsman’s staff, shall be holy to the Lord. One shall not differentiate between good or bad, neither shall he make a substitute for it; and if he does substitute for it, then both it and the substitute shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed” (Leviticus 27: 30-34).

"At the end of [every] three years, bring a tenth of all your produce for that year and store [it] within your gates. Then the Levite, who has no portion or inheritance among you, the foreign resident, fatherless, and widow within your gates may come, eat, and be satisfied. And the Lord your God will bless you in all the work of your hands that you do” (Deuteronomy 14:28-29).

This tradition of giving to the church and less fortunate has carried through to today. Muslims are encouraged to give liberally during Ramadan. The Jews give out baskets of food to the poorer families in the community at Purim. Most Christians give to their church and to other organizations that support the less fortunate. It’s almost human nature to open your wallet when you hear of someone who can’t afford the basics.

Churches Are Concerned About Giving Under the New Tax Code

The Episcopal News Service recently published a short article titled, “How the New Tax Laws Could Affect Episcopal Charitable Giving.” Under the new tax code, the standard deduction is $12,000 for individuals. For filers who typically itemize their charitable deductions, it could complicate things. The bottom line is that it won’t benefit low to middle class people to give to charities under the new tax law.

Some are worried that this could reduce charitable giving. The Episcopal Church isn’t the only one questioning how the tax code will affect altruism. The Catholic Church has also published articles about the new tax code and what will happen if people cannot deduct their giving.

So, the question is: do people give to get the tax deduction or is the tax deduction simply a benefit of something people do already? Many organizations have announced that the employees will benefit from the new tax code with higher wages. As the government takes less in taxes, people may see more in their paycheck, too. Could this mean that Americans will have more disposable income to spend on their favorite charities?

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

If we’re giving to get a tax deduction, maybe we’re giving for the wrong reason. Why do you give to your church or favorite charity? Are you worried about how the new tax code affects your giving?

Category: Church


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