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Letters: Philanthropy and the tax man

March 16, 2014

Re "A philanthropic revolution," Opinion, March 13

A funny thing happened to me on the way to reading Jack Shakely's Op-Ed article. After I told a friend I was going to a nonprofit accounting seminar, he said, "Well if you want to make a lot of money, go to work for a nonprofit."

I attempted to rebut that statement using personal experience.

We seminar attendees were alerted to details of the proposed Tax Reform Act of 2014. The potential change that may negate Shakely's donor-advised fund promotion is that the Tax Act proposes an annual excise tax on contributions that are not distributed within five years.

Shakely states, "As a career fundraiser, I learned that people cannot be forced to be charitable, but it helps to remove the barriers to giving." It appears that the federal government has ideas to put up new barriers.

As for my friend, he would be happy to know that there is also a proposed provision to levy a tax on non-profits with very highly paid employees.

Ken Martinet

Los Angeles

The writer is the president and chief executive of Catholic Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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