Monday, November 28, 2011

"The problematic charitable-donation tax deduction"

Felix Salmon wasn't impressed with Stephen Carter's recent piece on the virtues of the charitable deduction.  The issue comes up in the context of his discussion of an article over the weekend in the New York Times on elements of Ronald Lauder's tax planning.  Salmon's view is that "there is very little public policy served by giving Lauder [a tax deduction for transferring art to the museum he controls]. At the margin, does it make him more likely to open up a lovely museum of early 20th Century German and Austrian art in a Fifth Avenue mansion? Possibly. But the connection is tenuous enough that it’s hard to have any conviction in."  Carter had argued that it is "silly" to "suppose that eliminating the deduction will have little effect on donations."