PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5)--Like it or not, tax season is officially here!

As people file their taxes this year, they’ll notice some drastic changes.

The standard deduction for a married couple almost doubled from $12,700 to $24,000. This means less people will be itemizing, opting to take the standard deduction instead.

This tax change has Arizona nonprofits worried about the future. For many filers, the tax incentive to donate like in previous years won't be there. 

“Those donors that are more engaged and involved in what’s going on and maybe talking to their advisers already understood that those gifts at the end of year could potentially not be deductible like they were before so they are already making changes to their giving patterns," Kristen Merrifield, CEO of Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, said.

"A lot of nonprofits are already seeing a reduction in giving at the end of last year,” Merrifield added. 

Merrifield thinks only five percent of the public will itemize their taxes this year, compared to roughly 30 percent before. She believes this will have the greatest impact on middle class tax filers.

“When they go file, it could be an unpleasant surprise so we are trying to do our best to educate donors, help them understand what’s changing and why they need to continue to give,” Merrifield said.

At The Arizona Animal Welfare League, holiday giving was down almost $30,000 in 2018 compared to 2017.

In the past, phones would ring constantly on December 31st with people wanting to make a last-minute donations before the year ended. In 2018, the non-profit only got three calls.

“It was great to get that extra incentive through taxes, but the reason that you are giving hasn’t changed so continue to rely on that and give from your heart,” Merrifield said.


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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