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The Impact of Tax Reform on Charitable Giving: A 1989 Perspective

Listed author(s):
  • Charles T. Clotfelter

The purpose of this paper is to examine the predicted effects of tax reform in the 1980s (the tax acts of 1981 and 1986) on charitable contributions by individuals and to compare them to the actual and apparent effects, viewed from the perspective of 1989. The paper discusses what the economic models can and cannot be expected to do. Then, using published data from tax returns, the paper compares actual and predicted changes in giving as a result of both of the major tax reform acts. The paper concludes that the changes in contributions are quite consistent with the economic model of giving. As a result of these tax changes, average giving in high income classes declined. These results imply that tax policy should continue to be considered one important determinant of the level of individual charitable contributions.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3273.

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Date of creation: Mar 1990
Publication status: published as Do Taxes Matter?, Slemrod, Joel, ed., Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3273
Note: PE
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  1. Slemrod, Joel, 1989. "Are Estimated Tax Elasticities Really Just Tax Evasion Elasticities? The Case of Charitable Contributions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 517-522, August.
  2. Don Fullerton, 1991. "Tax Policy Toward Art Museums," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Art Museums, pages 195-236 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glenday, Graham & Gupta, Anil K & Pawlak, Henry, 1986. "Tax Incentives for Personal Charitable Contributions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 688-693, November.
  4. Charles T. Clotfelter, 1985. "The effect of tax simplification on educational and charitable organizations," Conference Series ; [Proceedings], Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, vol. 29, pages 187-221.
  5. Feldstein, Martin S & Taylor, Amy, 1976. "The Income Tax and Charitable Contributions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1201-1222, November.
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