Fiscal cliff vibrations trickle down to non-profits

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - If Congress doesn't keep America from toppling over the fiscal cliff, the tax deduction we get for making charitable donations could be on the chopping block.

"It would take away the incentive. It's one of those things. It makes you feel good not only to donate, but it helps give you incentive to take clothes out and you're getting credit for giving those things," said Goodwill customer Thomas King.

Many give to do a good thing, but it's an added benefit that donations increase our itemized deductions each tax season.

Congress has threatened the cut before, and the United Way has partnered with several other non-profits to lobby against it.

The group's conducted a survey showing 67% oppose eliminating or reducing the charitable tax donation.

"Elected leaders may believe the charitable deduction is an easy mark... But the charitable deduction is different than other itemized deductions. It encourages giving, rewards a selfless act, and helps raise more," said President and CEO Brain Gallagher.

For small non-profits that exist only in East Tennessee, donations are their only means of operation.

"We operate solely on donations. The services we provide to the counties we don't charge the counties for," said assistant executive director Soja Cowsert.

Horse Haven doesn't turn down horses and it's never operated in the red, but if Congress doesn't act donors may be discouraged.

"We'll have to see. I'm hoping that our donors believe in our system so much, that they know that we're doing a good job, that they'll continue to donate," said Cowsert.

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