Decline in Charitable Giving

After years of growth, many tax experts thought 2018 would show a decrease in charitable giving, especially among individuals who are part of the middle class. The expected decline in giving was attributed to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which doubled the standard deduction while taking away many itemized deductions. These changes led many taxpayers, especially in the middle class, to opt-out of itemizing. Taxpayers who do not itemize, do not receive tax benefits for charitable gifts, leading to fewer donations. According to “Giving USA 2019,” this prediction held true for 2018.

With many taxpayers claiming the standard deduction, individual giving particularly was expected to decline from years past. “Giving USA 2019” shows a decline of 1.1% from 2017 to 2018, and the decline steepens to 3.4% when adjusting for inflation.

This should not come as a surprise, considering some individuals wanted to get ahead of the tax reform by choosing to donate more than normal in 2017. Tax reform, however, was not the sole cause of the decline in charitable giving. Another potential cause of the decline in charitable giving was likely the stock market. The market was doing well throughout 2018, yet took a bit of a downturn close to year-end. End-of-year giving was likely reduced by the market not doing as well as hoped for.

It will be interesting to see if the decline in charitable giving in 2018 was an anomaly or part of a trend. As always, please feel free to contact Schneider Downs if you or your organization has questions or needs assistance in developing charitable giving strategies.

You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2019 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

our thoughts on

PA DOR Will Apply $500,000 Economic Nexus Rule for Corporation Income Tax Filings in 2020
Automobile, Tax BY Steven Barber
Clarification on 100% Bonus Depreciation for Dealership Owners
Is Your Construction Company Eligible for R&D Tax Credits?
Micro-Captive Insurance Companies Feel Pressure with Recent IRS Settlement Offers and Court Victories
IRS Releases Advance Payment Proposed Regulations for Accrual Method Taxpayers, Providing One-Year Deferral
Advance Payments: Potential for Longer Term Deferral under Newly Issued Regulations, Repeal of Regulation §1.451-5

Register to receive our weekly newsletter with our most recent columns and insights.

Have a question? Ask us!

We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note, and we’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.

Ask us

contact us

Map of Pittsburgh Office

One PPG Place, Suite 1700
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
p:412.261.3644     f:412.261.4876

Map of Columbus Office

65 East State Street, Suite 2000
Columbus, OH 43215
p:614.621.4060     f:614.621.4062

Map of Washington Office
Washington, D.C.

1660 International Drive, Suite 600
McLean, VA 22102