Tax code changes could mean fewer donations to charities

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FLINT (WJRT) (12/29/17) - Changes in the tax code could mean people will be less willing to donate to charities in 2018.

That's a big concern for agencies that depend on donations.

Some people support charities because it means they then have to pay fewer taxes. But with the new revisions to the tax code, that incentive could be reduced.

"We've heard some number that this may impact charitable giving organizations like ours by 5 to 7 percent. But it's really too early to say because we don't really know how the rules are going to apply," said Jamie Gaskin, United Way of Genesee County CEO.

As tax professionals get a better idea of how the new system will work, organizations like the United Way and Salvation Army will be watching closely. They're hoping that people will continue to donate to their causes because they feel it's the right thing to do.

"We don't anticipate any major sea change in terms of how many people are giving or how much they're giving, but I do think people are going to have to step back and talk to their tax professional," said Gaskin.

There may be a spike in donations to churches and charities over the next few days because incentives will be going away in 2018.

"They may be seeing more charitable donations right now at the end of 2017 if they're not going to be getting those in '18," said Rebecca Millsap, a certified public accountant at Yeo & Yeo.

For many people, the tax code changes could mean that when they prepare their taxes a year from now, they won't need a tax professional.

"There may be people that are not going to need to itemize because of the standard deduction is doubling. They can probably do their own taxes and not need assistance," Millsap said.

Next year promises to be confusing for taxpayers as they learn the ins and outs of the new system.

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