Monday, April 7, 2008

Clinton Tax Returns Show Increased Charitable Distributions Since 2007

In the immediately previous post, I discussed the private foundation excise taxes using the Clintons' tax returns as useful context.  The returns are available on-line via this New York Times article.  The article makes the point that of the nearly $10 million given to their family foundation since 2001, more than half of the distributions were made in 2007.  Before that, the Clintons released relatively litle, while still reaping pretty sizeable deductions.

The pace of the Clintons’ own charitable giving, which peaked last year at $3 million, has not always kept up with their income, and by at least one measure, has sometimes fallen short of the spirit of the 5 percent goal, which is to get money into the hands of charities that do good works. In 2002, for instance, they reported income totaling $9.5 million and $115,000 in gifts to charity. In other years, they have given much larger amounts to their family foundation, but it has yet to disburse all of the money. The Clintons took a tax deduction in 2004 for $2.5 million in charitable gifts, $2 million of which went to their family foundation, which as a tax-exempt nonprofit is considered a charity under the tax code. That same year, the foundation gave away just $221,000 to charitable groups, according to its tax return. A representative of the Clintons said that when they and their foundation filed their 2007 tax returns, the records would show that all of the $3 million they gave to the foundation last year had been passed on to other charities. That will account for more than half of all the charitable donations that the foundation has made since 2001, according to a review of its tax returns.

As I suggested in  my post regarding whether conservatives are more giving than liberals, people give primarily for self-serving reasons -- including and most probably guilt.  As long as they are redistributing some of their wealth, it matters not the reason, I suppose.  Nobody has a "come to Jesus" moment out of the pure goodness of their heart.


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DO you have any substantive research about your last (gratuitous) point - people give to charities for a lot of reasons, guilt may be one of them but it is not the primary motivator. The economics literature on eleeomosynary motivations in the human spirit is pretty well documented.

Posted by: drtaxsacto | Apr 8, 2008 7:08:04 AM

See, Rob Atkinson, Altruism in Nonprofit Organizations, Rob Atkinson, 31 B.C. L. Rev. 501

Posted by: Darryll Jones | Apr 8, 2008 7:51:29 AM

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