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Is Charitable Giving by Nonitemizers Responsive to Tax Incentives? New Evidence

Duquette, Christopher M.

Abstract:

Was nonitemizer giving responsive to the 1982-6 "above-the-line" tax deduction provided for in the 1981 Economic Recovery Tax Act? Here, a Tobit model is applied to Treasury Individual Tax Model file data for 1985 and 1986 to estimate the price elasticity of nonitemizer giving. Nonitemizer giving is found to be price-responsive. The responsiveness is, however, smaller than that for itemizer giving (at least for 1986 when the nonitemizer deduction was fully phased in), suggesting diminishing returns from extending the itemizers-only deduction to nonitemizers. These findings also question whether the nonitemizer deduction can be touted as a highly efficient tax subsidy.

Citation

Duquette, Christopher M. (1999), Is Charitable Giving by Nonitemizers Responsive to Tax Incentives? New Evidence, National Tax Journal, 52:2, pp. 195-206