Reed Bill Encouraging Charitable Giving Passes House in Overwhelming Vote
Tom Reed’s bill to care for families in need across the country and encourage charitable giving passed the House Thursday in a strong bipartisan vote of 277-130. Reed’s “America Gives More Act” combines five bipartisan bills that originated in the Ways and Means Committee to promote charitable giving through the tax code. The overwhelming bipartisan vote sends a strong message to the Senate that the chamber should join the House and pass the charitable giving package.
“Thousands of individuals and charitable organizations across the country do great work day in and day out to make our communities better,” Reed said. “We have an opportunity with these initiatives to make their important jobs a little bit easier, care for Americans in need and really have a positive impact as we invest in the communities we live and work in.”
The widespread support Reed received from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle and over 800 organizations across the country is something Reed credits to the common sense, community-oriented nature of his bill. “When you offer an initiative that cares for the most needy Americans, supports charitable organizations and brings our communities together, it just makes sense,” Reed said.
Reed’s specific bill, the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act, incentivizes restaurants, grocery stores, farmers and other businesses to contribute their excess inventory to local food banks and pantries by permanently extending the food inventory donation tax provision that expired at the end of last year. Instead of wasting the food, Reed’s bill provides a tax deduction over the cost of the goods if the food is donated to a charitable organization.
Earlier this spring, Reed met with food bank employees, local farmers and restaurant owners who all take advantage of and benefit from Reed’s food donation provision.
“It’s only right and fair that we help local food banks care for our neighbors,” Reed said at the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. “By making this tax provision permanent, we will increase food donations and see that more families have access to the food they need.”
Five bills promoting charitable giving were included under Reed’s “America Gives More Act”:
· The Fighting Hunger Incentive Act – makes it easier for farmers, restaurants and grocery stores to donate their excess food instead of sending it to a landfill;
· The Conservation Easement Incentive Act – encourages farmers and landowners to save thousands of acres of farmland, protecting natural resources;
· The Permanent IRA Contribution Act – allows seniors to contribute annually from their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to charitable organizations without a tax penalty;
· The Charitable Giving Extension Act – encourages increased giving by allowing taxpayers to have until April 15th of the following year to deduct their contributions;
· The Private Excise Tax Simplification Act – reduces administrative and compliance costs for private foundations to encourage greater giving in times of need.
Many of the tax provisions making it easier for individuals and organizations to donate to charity expired at the end of last year or are facing expiration soon. This bill package makes those giving provisions permanent, providing certainty to taxpayers, charitable groups and the millions of Americans they serve every day.
Southern Tier and Finger Lakes farmers, restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses added their voices in support of Reed’s bill to boost food bank donations.
"It has long been important to me and my fellow farmers that people of all income levels have access to the fresh food we grow,” said Tom Giles, farmer and Chemung County Farm Bureau member who donated over 10,000 lbs. of food last year to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. “I am pleased that the House recognized the need to make the tax credit permanent to help offset the costs it takes to harvest and transport the food, and because of Rep. Reed's successful effort, farmers across this state will be able to participate in local food donation efforts at even greater levels.”
Food Bank of the Southern Tier President and CEO Natasha Thompson said, “The food donation tax deduction provides a valuable and needed incentive that encourages small businesses to donate nutritious food to local food banks. Over 60% of the food distributed by the Food Bank of the Southern Tier is donated by manufacturers, retailers, and growers but unfortunately the supply is simply not keeping up with the staggering rate of demand in our community. It is absolutely critical that Congress include this important giving incentive in tax reform legislation that will ultimately help food banks across the U.S. realize the goal of building and sustaining hunger free communities.”
“The passing of this bill is a very important part of helping the Food Bank and local Pantries in our community,” said Tom Gaige, Owner of Jubilee Foods in Horseheads. “I believe there will be more businesses donating if they know there is relief on the tax side of giving. It costs money to throw out food to the landfill and this is a way we can get something back and help our community at the same time. This bill is a win, win bill for everyone.”
“We thank Congressman Reed for introducing the Fighting Hunger Incentive Act,” said Gerard Pettinato, Owner of Mario’s Pizza in Owego. “Mario’s Pizza prides ourselves in our commitment to our community. Food donation is a critical part of alleviating hunger and eliminating food waste. This meaningful legislation will make it even easier to put food on the table for those members of our community in need and help us reaffirm our commitment to giving back.”