How paying tax differs from giving to charity

The debate about the relationship between taxes and philanthropy was opened up by this year’s Budget and its (thankfully) ill-fated proposal to cap tax reliefs on major donations.

But whilst that proposal went away, the important issues it pushed to the forefront about the nature of the difference between paying tax and making voluntary contributions remain pertinent but so far unanswered.

A US commentator, Mark Rosenman, has written this interesting piece about these issues in his country. He notes that research shows when taxes go down, there is no concomitant rise in donations, and he also notes that philanthropically-funded institutions do not meet the same needs or serve the same people as those that democratically elected governments tend to prioritise.

Mark’s piece may be – as ever – about the US but it contains many interesting points for those of us in the UK who are concerned about similar issues, and is well worth a read.

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