Survey: Most affluent taxpayers maintained charitable giving levels following tax reform

PROVIDENCE – In a recent survey conducted by Fidelity Charitable, 76% of affluent taxpayers said they gave about the same to charity in 2018, following the tax-reform bill passed in late 2017.

The survey found that of the respondents, 15% increased their charitable giving year over year and 9% decreased their giving year over year.

Fidelity Charitable said it surveyed 475 high net worth charitable donors for the report, who itemized deductions at least two of the last three years.

Of those that decreased their giving, 50% said it was due to tax-reform changes.

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Of those who increased their charitable giving, 32% cited a request from a nonprofit or involvement in a pledge campaign as a reason, 31% said it was due to a salary increase or bonus, and 31% cited an interest in a charitable cause. A financial windfall was cited by 21% of respondents, and 20% cited tax reform.

Fifty percent of respondents said they adjusted their charitable giving in 2018 in response to the tax reforms passed in late 2017, 18% cited decreased income, 16% cited retirement and 16% cited a major new expense.

The report said 32% of affluent taxpayer respondents said they were surprised by their tax situation after filing their 2018 returns, including 6% who were “very surprised.” Among those that were surprised, 20% said their tax situation was much worse than expected, 35% said their tax situation was “somewhat worse” than expected, 26% said their tax situation was “somewhat better” than expected and 10% said their situation was “much better than expected.”

The survey also found that 75% of those surveyed will probably retain their giving levels from 2018 into 2019, 14% will give more and 11% expect to give less.

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