Charitable Deductions, Rate Cuts, And Tolls


How much did the TCJA cut tax-deductible giving to charities? New IRS data show that  taxpayers reduced their charitable deductions by $54 billion, or nearly one-third–in 2018 compared to 2017. The decline in tax-deductible giving reflects the TCJA’s increase in the standard deduction and the cap on the state and local tax (SALT) deduction, both of which encouraged taxpayers to stop itemizing. The IRS data exclude the returns of nearly 15 million taxpayers who received filing extensions, charitable donations by non-itemizers, and donations by corporations and private foundations.

Connecticut’s Governor would raise highway tolls, and cut income taxes. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont says he plans to call a special session on electronic highway tolls to fund the state’s transportation system, and if the price is a state income tax cut, why not? “The middle class is getting squeezed in this state. I’ve got to find a way that we fix our transportation system and make sure we keep faith with the middle class.” He’d pair new tolls with a $100 million tax cut that would reduce the state’s lowest income tax rate from 3 percent to 2 percent. That would save individuals earning between $25,000 and $100,000 about $90 annually and couples earning between $35,000 and $145,000 about $180.

France will levy an eco-tax on outbound flights. The French government will gradually introduce the tax on airlines flying out of the country to raise about $201 million, or €180 million, beginning in 2020. The tax will range from €1.5 on an economy class ticket to  €18 on business class. Internal flights will face no eco-tax. In addition to hoping European Union member nations tax airline travel more, France hopes the European Commission will end a tax exemption for jet fuel. The goal: Reduce CO2 emissions. In the meantime, airline stocks fell on the news.

Oops: India’s new tax rate has an unintended consequence. The Indian government raised a surtax on wealthy Indians—from 15 percent to 25 percent on those with taxable income between ₹20 million and ₹50 million, and to 37 percent for those with more than ₹50. million in taxable income. Problem is: The change applies to foreign portfolio investors that are treated like individuals for tax purposes.  Will the Indian government clarify the application of the new tax rate… and if so, when?

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