2015 Public Policy Agenda

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1 2015 Public Policy Agenda Indiana s philanthropic sector plays an important role in promoting and supporting the quality of life in this state. The almost 1200 family, independent, community, and corporate foundations, corporate giving programs and other grantmaking entities annually infuse more than $700 million in grants to support a broad range of health, educational, cultural, human service, environmental, and other causes, with 76% going to Indianabased organizations. Indiana Philanthropy Alliance strives to be the premier resource for networking and education, information and knowledge, and leadership on behalf of organized philanthropy in Indiana. As a nonprofit membership association of grantmakers, IPA advances philanthropy by educating its members about public policy issues that can affect the nonprofit sector, by educating public officials about the role of foundations as stewards of resources for the public good to strengthen and improve the health and vitality of communities, and by advocating for public policies that promote philanthropy and the sector as a whole. IPA adheres to the principles that focus on the role of tax policy in encouraging charitable giving, the importance of sustaining the diversity and independence of the sector, and the sector s commitment to honor the public trust through transparency and accountability. The following are areas of public policy that IPA will monitor, offer perspective, and discuss with elected officials at the local, state and national levels during FEDERAL ISSUES WITH DIRECT IMPACT ON FOUNDATIONS Charitable Incentives Charitable Deductions Position: Support maintaining current law permitting full deductibility of itemized charitable deductions. Rationale: The charitable deduction encourages charitable giving, benefiting communities across the country. Under the current law, a donor who itemizes can take a deduction on his or her charitable gift at the same percentage as his or her tax rate. The discussions that are taking place regarding comprehensive federal tax reform have included imposing a cap or limit on the value of the charitable tax deduction as part of an

2 overall effort to either raise additional federal revenue or make adjustments or simplifications to the tax code. But, reducing the charitable deduction is not the solution to current budget concerns. Due to the recession, many communities will deal with residual effects for years to come. The nonprofit sector is part of the solution to address these ongoing needs. We caution lawmakers to consider the consequences for the charitable sector when debating proposals to limit the deduction, whether in the context of raising revenue or simplifying the tax code. Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) Position: Work to promote the continued availability of donor-advised funds that are consistent with National Standards for Community Foundations as a viable charitable giving vehicle. Rationale: Donor-advised funds are useful charitable giving vehicles that help expand the opportunities available to donors for committing their financial resources to charity. In general, IPA supports legislative reforms for donor advised funds that help to promote ethical and accountable management of the charitable resources in these funds for the public good, and opposes legislative reforms that inhibit or diminish the reasonable growth and effectiveness of donor advised funds. IRA Charitable Rollover Position: Support making permanent legislation that permits tax-free distribution to charities from Individual Retirement Accounts. Support extending the benefit to individuals age 59½ and older, and allowing contributions to private foundations, supporting organizations and donor-advised funds. Rationale: IPA has actively supported extending and expanding the IRA charitable rollover since its inclusion in The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA). We know this provision is particularly important to our community foundation members, and we will continue to be engaged in this legislation as it moves forward in the 113th Congress. Prior to 2006, taxpayers wishing to transfer Individual Retirement Account (IRA) assets to charity first had to recognize the amount as income, make a transfer, and then claim a charitable deduction for the amount gifted. This often resulted in tax liability, even though the donor ultimately transferred the entire IRA distribution to charity. PPA partially solved this problem by allowing taxpayers age 70 ½ or older to transfer up to $100,000 annually from their IRA accounts directly to charity without first having to recognize the distribution as income. Since its passage, the rollover provision within the PPA has proven to be very popular with taxpayers and beneficial to charities. Yet the provision remains limited in several respects: it is limited to taxpayers age 70½ or older; the amount of gifts is capped at $100,000; and donors are specifically not permitted to make charitable rollovers to donor-advised funds, supporting organizations, and private foundations. Also, because the provision was only temporary, the IRA rollover provision must be extended regularly or it will cease to exist as an option for donors. IPA joins with others in the field who support making the IRA charitable rollover permanent and expanding its application to a greater number of taxpayers by dropping the age threshold and extending the organizations eligible for transfer of the IRA distribution to additional

3 organizations including donor advised funds, supporting organizations and private foundations. IPA supports the position that these actions would increase charitable giving and promote more equitable tax policy. IPA has actively supported the passage of the America Gives More Act. This bill contains five provisions, including provisions to make the IRA charitable rollover a permanent part of tax law and simplifying the private foundation excise tax to a single rate of one percent. It has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and while on the U.S. Senate s calendar, has yet to be called for a vote. Excise Tax on Private Foundations Position: Support simplifying the private foundation excise tax on net investment income to a flat rate and dedicate use of the revenue raised for its original intended purpose, to provide funds for the IRS to regulate the nonprofit sector. Rationale: Under current law, private foundations that are exempt from federal income tax are generally subject to a 2 percent excise tax on their net investment income. However, the tax is reduced to 1 percent in any year in which the foundation s percentage of distributions for charitable purposes exceeds the average percentage of its distributions over the five preceding taxable years. This two-tiered structure causes problems because: It can actually deter foundations from increasing their charitable giving. Many foundations set spending policies at 5 to 6 percent to preserve the long-term value of their endowments. But if they substantially increase their grantmaking in a particular year for example, for Hurricane Sandy relief they also increase the five-year average on which the tax rate is determined. As a result, the foundation pays tax at the 2 percent rate for the next five years. A flat rate could eliminate this perverse incentive that may deter a foundation not to increase grantmaking during times of great need. The calculation of distributions necessary to qualify for the reduced tax is complex and depends on multiple variables and assumptions that can change dramatically from year to year. The resources (time and money) that must be spent to ensure the amount spent by the end of the year is neither too high nor too low takes away from what could otherwise be allocated to grantees. IPA has actively supported the passage of the America Gives More Act. This bill contains five provisions, including provisions to make the IRA charitable rollover a permanent part of tax law and simplifying the private foundation excise tax to a single rate of one percent. It has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and while on the U.S. Senate s calendar, has yet to be called for a vote. Private Foundation Distribution Requirements Position: Support an appropriate payout level for private foundation distributions that allows for the availability of funds for distribution in perpetuity.

4 Rationale: Proposals to increase the required distribution by private foundations beyond the current 5% IRS regulation or to change the types of expenses that are allowed to be included in the calculation have been considered by Congress in recent years. While no specific efforts in this area were introduced during the negotiations involving the fiscal cliff, there is some concern that this issue may be revisited as part of debt limit, deficit reduction and tax reform discussions currently taking place in Congress. Previous national studies have shown that a 5% payout is optimum for supporting the long-term position of a foundation and ensuring the availability of charitable grantmaking for the future. Some foundations choose sunset provisions that direct the full distribution of assets within a selected timeframe, but such policies should be the decision of the foundation s governing body, not imposed by Congress. Philanthropy Caucus Position: Support efforts to encourage members of the Indiana Congressional delegation to join the House and Senate Philanthropy Caucuses. Congressman Andre Carson is currently the only caucus member from Indiana. Rationale: The work of the philanthropic sector affects the lives of millions of Americans, so it is critical that Indiana foundation leaders take an active role in shaping public policy by building relationships with their members of Congress. Lawmakers need to know more about the work that foundations and corporate giving programs do in their states and districts. The Bipartisan Philanthropy Caucus will: inform members of Congress and Congressional staff about the important role that foundations play in our communities and around the globe identify issues of mutual interest to the philanthropic sector and lawmakers raise awareness about legislative issues affecting foundations. Nonprofit Regulation Position: Support public policies that promote effective management of charitable resources, appropriate transparency, ethical conduct, responsible philanthropy and corporate giving, the diversity and independence of the sector and reasonable access to information without placing undue or unreasonable burden on nonprofits. Rationale: IPA encourages voluntary efforts of self-regulation within the sector and supports appropriate external enforcement agencies for nonprofit compliance and oversight. Government-imposed requirements on foundations for specific collection of data based on certain demographic information, for example, are seen as overly burdensome without providing a meaningful assessment of the impact of the organization s work. Low-Profit Limited Liability Company (L3C) Position: Monitor the development of federal legislation that would facilitate or further regulate foundations making program-related investments (PRIs) to Low-Profit Limited Liability Companies (L3Cs).

5 Rationale: An L3C is a type of Limited Liability Company (LLC) that allows a partnership of nonprofits and for-profit businesses to engage in socially beneficial activities. The L3Cs unique structure allows foundations to invest by using an alternative to grants called program related investments (PRIs) a loan, loan guarantee, equity purchase or other investment that will further the foundation s philanthropic purposes. In 2012 the IRS released proposed rules that provide guidance on PRIs. The proposed regulations (REG ) provide a series of new examples illustrating investments that qualify as PRIs and do not modify existing regulations. L3Cs are now legal in all 50 states. In prior years, many foundations shied away from investing in for-profit ventures through PRIs because of burdensome and costly IRS requirements to verify and qualify those types of investments. PRIs are legally complex and expensive for foundations to administer. L3Cs eliminate most of those requirements. Nonprofit Advocacy Position: Support the rights of charitable organizations to continue their involvement in public policy debates in accordance with the current rules and regulations. Oppose additional limitations on the ability of nonprofit organizations to participate in the public policy process, including legislation or rules that: place more burdensome reporting and disclosure on nonprofits than on business or governmental bodies; restrict the ability of nonprofit agencies that apply for or receive government funds to use non-governmental funds to conduct nonpartisan advocacy, lobbying or other legitimate program activities that further their charitable missions; unnecessarily limit public policy input on the part of nonprofit organizations that would otherwise be allowed to participate in public discourse. Rationale: Nonprofit organizations have a legitimate role to play in the public policy debate. Sufficient regulation of lobbying presently exists. Under current law, the amounts and types of lobbying carried out by many nonprofit organizations are limited, lobbying expenditures must be reported, and there is a strict prohibition on nonprofits participation in political campaigns. Orphan Trusts Position: Support the development of policy that keeps orphan or neglected trusts within their communities of origin, perhaps under the control of the local community foundation or with the community foundation handling grantmaking. Rationale: Orphan or neglected trusts describes charitable trusts that have institutional trustees, such as banks, but that no longer have ties to the donor or members of the donor s family who could guide grantmaking. Foundation Center research has reported almost 4,000 such trusts with assets over $5.4 billion. These orphan or neglected trusts have increasingly attracted legislative and media attention because they are rapidly growing in number, the financial institutions are increasing their fees to manage these funds, and many of these funds are away from their community of origin due to bank mergers. When opportunity arises, IPA will continue to explore ways to work with national partners including other Regional Associations, the Council on Foundations and

6 others who share our concern as to how best to ensure that the donor s wishes are adhered to, followed and that there is a transparency of oversight. STATE ISSUES IPA will continue to work with its membership and consultant, Barnes & Thornburg to inform and educate Indiana s elected officials about the important role that Indiana s grantmaking community serves to enhance Indiana s communities and impact the lives of all Hoosiers. Promotion of Charitable Giving Position: Support income tax credits, deductions and other vehicles that provide an incentive for increased charitable giving. Rationale: In keeping with IPA s mission to champion, support and connect members as they transform Indiana through effective philanthropy, we support efforts that increase the availability of grantmaking funds. We specifically support legislation that provides a tax credit against adjusted gross state income tax liability for donations to a qualified endowment fund at an eligible Indiana community foundation, and will work to get a bill introduced and heard during the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly. State Budget Position: Monitor and, if necessary, take action on state or local proposals that shift financial responsibility for government programs to philanthropy, or that tax nonprofit organizations. Work in partnership with other nonprofit allies to actively educate public officials about the role of philanthropy and the capacity of philanthropy. Rationale: Large state budget cuts to both government services and nonprofits put tremendous pressure on foundations and nonprofits alike. In order to manage expectations about philanthropy s ability to fill gaps created by state budget cuts both in government services and in grants to nonprofits, a proactive strategy to develop productive relationships with public officials is warranted. It is critical to obtaining positive outcomes for the larger community, as well as the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. Tax Issues Position: Continue to promote tax exemption for nonprofits. Increasingly throughout the nation, local and state governments are imposing a variety of fees and special taxes impacting the nonprofit community, IPA will closely monitor legislation at the state or local levels here in Indiana that would extend sales or property taxes, or user fees in lieu of taxes, to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in Indiana. Rationale: There are several historic reasons for providing tax exemptions to nonprofits. Changes in tax policy should be made only on a demonstration that these rationales no longer apply: Fairness argues that the tax exemption compensates nonprofits for the resources and

7 opportunities that are closed to them by state and federal regulations. Market gaps argue that the tax exemption is in recognition of the fact that there are some goods and services that the market cannot supply. Subsidy argues that nonprofits serve minority interests that are not sufficiently served by government action, and which government would have to provide if the nonprofit sector did not. Regulation argues that the special regulatory treatment of nonprofits is in return for special tax treatment. Nonprofit regulation Position: Support public policies that promote effective management of charitable resources, appropriate transparency, ethical conduct, responsible philanthropy and corporate giving, and reasonable access to information without placing undue or unreasonable burden on nonprofits. Rationale: IPA encourages voluntary efforts of self-regulation within the sector and supports appropriate external enforcement agencies for nonprofit compliance and oversight. Orphan Trusts Position: Support the development of policy that keeps orphan or neglected trusts within their communities of origin, perhaps under the control of the local community foundation or with the community foundation handling grantmaking. Rationale: Orphan or neglected trusts describes charitable trusts that have institutional trustees, such as banks, but that no longer have ties to the donor or members of the donor s family who could guide grantmaking. Foundation Center research has reported almost 4,000 such trusts with assets over $5.4 billion. These orphan or neglected trusts have increasingly attracted legislative and media attention because they are rapidly growing in number, the financial institutions are increasing their fees to manage these funds, and many of these funds are away from their community of origin due to bank mergers. IPA will continue to explore opportunities to work with the Indiana Attorney General s office and Indiana General Assembly to ensure that donor intent, transparency, and accountability of orphan trusts are upheld while also safeguarding the common good for the communities of origin.

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