As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” Well, things haven’t really changed, and taxes seem to be a very popular topic in the current business and political landscape. The current Republican tax bills, being considered in Washington, pose a major threat to New York non-profits, as well as many New Yorkers in general.
Many programs rely on government dollars passed through state and city governments. Programs such as senior centers, day care, and job training are in serious danger. Allison Sesso, the Executive Director of the Human Services Council of New York is not afraid to speak up about how she feels. “The bills are, on so many levels, just terrible,” states Sesso. Her fear lies with the potential to cut back on these social services that route money to hundreds of nonprofits.
Another problem that stems from this tax overhaul is donor contribution. The new tax code changes may discourage many from giving, because they would see fewer tax benefits from donating to charity. The House of Represents’ bill could even repeal the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits non-profits from donating to political campaigns or endorsing candidates. If that amendment is scrapped, Sesso feels that, “There will be the expectation that we will give to political campaigns,” and “That’s not what we want.”
We need to be aware of the potential risks of these bills and be prepared for their acceptance. To some, taxes can already appear vague and unclear, so let’s not thicken the veil so carefully placed over our eyes by present-day tax reform.