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Sen. Mike Lee supports a bill to increase charitable tax deductions

WASHINGTON, DC - File photo. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — Charities are struggling with fundraising right now as charitable giving has hit an all-time low.

With more people out of work because of COVID-19, they are less likely to give to non-profits, whose demand for services has recently gone through the roof. 

That’s why Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) is joining a bipartisan group of senators to support a bill that would increase the charitable giving deduction on federal tax returns to $4,000 for a single person and $8,000 for a married couple. 

During an online meeting with several Utah nonprofits, Senator Lee stressed the importance of making sure those non-profits stay afloat, something he thinks is good for everyone. 

“This is where we expand and where we protect that second and most important pillar from within our social safety net, which is the non-profit community,” Lee said. 

Lee also sympathized with charities, who have been hit by a double whammy of fewer donations due to COVID-19 and changes to the tax code under President Donald Trump, which got rid of many people’s charitable deductions. 

Currently, people who take the standard deduction are only allowed to deduct $300 for charitable giving on their federal returns. 

But Lee thinks increasing that charitable deduction amount will help many non-profits. 

“When we go into a crisis mode as a society, one of the casualties often ends up being charitable contributions. We need to jump-start that back again,” Lee said. 

If passed, the deductions would apply to people’s 2019 and 2020 tax returns. However, Lee would like to make the changes permanent. 

During the meeting, some raised concerns about the chances of the bill moving forward in Congress or whether the President would sign it if passed due to some negative comments he had made about non-profits. 

While Lee acknowledged that the bill could face some hurdles, he also promised not to let the president veto it.