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Senator Lankford Introduces Bill for Churches, Charities, and Non-Profits to Protect Tax Exempt Status

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced a bill to protect churches, charities, and other non-profit organizations from a provision in the new tax law that would tax some employee benefits for the first time. The Lessening Impediments from Taxes (LIFT) for Charities Act, would repeal a section in the tax code that would require some tax-exempt organizations to pay federal taxes on employee benefits, like parking, meals, or transportation benefits for the first time.

“Tax reform was designed to simplify tax filing, not make it more complicated or burdensome,” said Lankford. “By definition, tax-exempt organizations do not typically file tax returns. But, a glitch in last year’s tax reform bill would become a huge burden to churches, charities, and non-profit organizations. Most churches and non-profits in Oklahoma, especially in rural locations, are not equipped to handle major tax code changes. Non-profit, tax-exempt entities are designed to better our communities and our nation. I look forward to joining my colleagues to find ways to address this unfortunate situation. I want to thank Congressman Mark Walker for his leadership in the House of Representatives. I am honored to join him in offering a companion, common-sense solution that protects the non-profit backbone of our society, as they give back to our communities in ways that are invaluable to us as a nation.”

Currently, the law requires churches and other organizations to pay new taxes and subjects them to new compliance burdens and reporting requirements. Many, if not most churches have never had to fill out IRS Form 990’s. 

Lankford and Representative Mark Walker (R-NC) serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Prayer Caucus. Walker introduced the LIFT for Charities Act in the House last week. In November 2017, Lankford and Walker also introduced the Universal Charitable Giving Act, in both the Senate and House, which creates a universal charitable deduction in addition to the standard deduction for individuals and married couples that do not itemize.