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Deductions for non-itemizers

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Allowing taxpayers who do not itemize their federal income taxes to deduct charitable contributions could funnel billions of dollars into charities, a new report says.

Currently, about two in three Americans do not itemize their federal taxes, and so are not eligible to deduct gifts they make to charity, says the report by United Way of America.

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum recently introduced the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment Act, which would allow non-itemizers to deduct contributions and receive the same benefits as itemizers.

The report says the change would result in an additional $217 million in gifts to United Way of America alone, an increase of 8.4 percent in overall giving and a 26.7 increase in giving by non-itemizers.

With non-itemizers currently contributing $36 billion each year to charity overall, the report says, the proposed changes could lead to billions in additional donations.

Under the provisions of the act, single taxpayers who do not itemize would be allowed to deduct charitable gifts of more than $250, but no more than $500, with those limits increasing to $500 and $1,000 respectively for joint filers.

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