urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Tax Policy and Charities

Tax Policy and Charities


The Tax Policy and Charities project analyzes the many interactions between the tax system and the charitable sector, with special emphasis on ongoing fiscal debates at both the federal and state levels.

Our scope includes income and estate tax deductions for charitable giving; income- and property-tax exemptions for nonprofit organizations; and private foundation excise taxes, among other issues.

The project will

  • provide timely, accessible summaries that augment the knowledge base with new analyses and evaluate proposed alternatives as the policy debate evolves;
  • make available the best estimates and the latest information on the many potential changes to the charitable sector as a result of various proposals being considered by Congress;
  • and examine the economic, legal, and social rationales behind tax code provisions that affect the charitable sector, their impacts on charities, and how government policies can most efficiently achieve their overall objectives.

Recently Published:

Tax Policy and Philanthropy: A Primer on the Empirical Evidence for the U.S. and its Implications by Jon Bakija

Charitable Contributions of Property: A Broken System Reimagined by Roger Colinvaux

Analyzing the IRS 501(c)(4) Scandal by Urban Institute authors and affiliated scholars

This project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Wasie Foundation, the Rasmuson Foundation, and other donors through June 2014. The findings and conclusions contained in the publications posted here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of these foundations.


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