U.S. taxpayers could more than double their donations to charity, a research group says.
Extrapolating from Internal Revenue Service data, NewTithing Group says individuals could have contributed $320 billion last year, compared to the estimated $150 billion they gave.
Most of the increase could have come from the top three tax brackets, NewTithing says.
Average filers in the top bracket — with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more — gave only 12 percent of what NewTithing estimates they could have afforded to give.
In comparison, filers in one of the lowest brackets – earning adjusted gross income of $25,000 to $49,999, with roughly $64,000 in investment assets – already were donating an average of $661 a year.
“The markets may be lackluster, but many filers in the wealthiest three tax brackets accumulated so much capital over the years that they still could have comfortable given more than what they gave,” says Claude Rosenberg, head of NewTithing Group.