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A digital series for the social sector

At the Johnson Center, we understand philanthropy as an ecosystem — one filled with co-dependent actors and organizations whose work is fundamentally grounded in a love for humanity. Nonprofits and funders, individual donors and volunteers — we are one sector, with common interests and common challenges.

But it isn’t always easy to find common space to dive into the issues and ideas that affect us all in different ways. Field Focus is our answer to this challenge, to empower our networks by bringing practitioners, thought leaders, and issue experts together around one theme.

For each Field Focus campaign, we devote three months to engaging with particular topics and concepts that are important to philanthropy — all of philanthropy — right now.

Field Focus: Tax Policy

We’ve gathered resources from our own experts and thought leaders, as well as leading philanthropic organizations from across the nation that will help you and your organization understand how changes to federal tax policy are affecting our sector.

Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

For Nonprofits, the Tax Landscape is Far From Settled
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) included a number of provisions that affect the way nonprofits identify and calculate their tax liabilities. Many nonprofits are still working to understand, explain, and account for these changes ahead of the 2018 filing deadline. However, the TCJA’s true impact — and even whether the tax code will continue in its current form through 2019 — remains to be seen. (Originally published in 11 Trends in Philanthropy for 2019)

Read the Article
Resources on How the New Federal Tax Law Impacts Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits offers this homepage for resources, analysis, and recommendations from sector-wide organizations on the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The page is updated as additional information becomes available.

Visit the Website
Giving Up Slightly in 2018, But Only Due to Larger Gifts

The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Fundraising Effectiveness Project conducted extensive analysis of giving in 2018 and discovered that overall giving has gone up 1.6%, while the number of givers has dropped 4.5%. Visit the report for further breakdowns and insights into this data.

View the Report
Research on UBIT Provisions in 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Independent Sector partnered with researchers at the Urban Institute and the George Washington University to quantify the impact of two new provisions of the federal tax code: nonprofit organizations are now required to pay a 21% tax on their employee parking and transportation benefits, and to report unrelated income streams separately.

View the Research


How the Tax Overhaul Could Impact Our Sector

In this webinar hosted by Kyle Caldwell, we’re joined by three sector experts who help us explore the potential impacts of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and navigate the tax debate.

Guest Panel:

  • Rob Collier, President & CEO of the Council of Michigan Foundations
  • Donna Murray-Brown, President & CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association
  • Tim Delaney, President & CEO at the National Council of Nonprofits

Original recording date: December 14, 2017

Watch the webinar on YouTube

Other Resources

National Council of Nonprofits:
Independent Sector:
Council on Foundations:

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Michigan League for Public Policy’s Tax Policy Issue Page

The George Washington Institute of Public Policy’s Counting for Dollars: 16 Largest Federal Assistance Programs (Michigan specific)

Analysis from The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Jan 2018)

“What’s in the Final Republican Tax Bill” – The New York Times (Jan 2018)

“How the new estate tax rules could reduce charitable giving by billions” – The Conversation (April 2018)

Resources on the Cost of Proposed Tax Overhaul

Indiana University’s Lilly School of Philanthropy

Resources on the Charitable Deduction

Urban Institute’s The New Debate Over a Charitable Deduction for Nonitemizers

Charitable Giving Coalition

Johnson Amendment
  • Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship, (updated 9/5/17) reflecting the signatures of nearly 200 Michigan charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, foundations, and other organizations. Nationally, more than 5,600 organizations from all 50 states signed the Community Letter.
  • GiveVoice.org: Website dedicated to preserving nonprofit nonpartisanship and the Johnson Amendment

2014 Michigan Tax Credit Repeal