Before tax reform hits, here’s how to maximize charitable gifts

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The potential for Congress to pass a tax-cuts bill is shaping up to be good news for charitable organizations this year.

As Republican lawmakers work toward finalizing legislation to overhaul the U.S. tax code, taxpayers are eyeing ways to maximize their giving for 2017 before changes included in the tax bill could make it harder to get the biggest bang for their buck.

“We’re having a lot of advisors and clients talk to us about bringing their giving forward, giving … enough money [this year] so they can maximize their tax deduction and fund multiple years of giving in the future,” Kim Laughton, president of Schwab Charitable, told CNBC.

As it stands, both the Senate and House versions — whose differences lawmakers are working on reconciling — include provisions that could affect charitable-giving tax strategies.

For starters, while the deduction for charitable contributions is one of the few protected in the tax bill, fewer taxpayers would likely use it. That’s because the standard deduction also would nearly double, meaning fewer households would itemize — which is the only way to take advantage of the deduction for charitable contributions.

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