Question:

Tzedaka is such an important mitzvah which lies at the core of Jewish life. I came across a confusing article online in a Jewish Journal, which made it seem like tax incentives that one is able to receive by giving tzedaka is looked down upon and potentially even prohibited because it involves taking money away from US government and welfare programs. Is there any truth in this? Are Orthodox Jews supposed to shy away from these tax incentive benefits? I know many Orthodox Jews that give a tremendous amount of tzedaka with holy intentions and only thereafter take advantage of tax benefits that stem from their giving, which obviously leaves them with more money to give to those in need. If this were the case, many if not all of the Jewish community’s philanthropists would be violating issurim since it is safe to assume that most take advantage of these legal and incentivized tax programs.

Answer:

I would like to see the article as I don’t see the issue with this since the government specifically gives tax incentives which encourage people should give charity. It is totally within the American law, and the American government does not in any way look down upon a philanthropist that gives a lot of charity. The American government and the American people give the most money of any country to others, and they are proud of it.

Besides it isn’t taking anything money away from anyone, it is only using the governments permission to be obligated to pay less. If the government would mind any of this they would change the laws to curtail it. The IRS has special numbers that people can only get a tax break if they give to organizations that the IRS has approved, and has gotten special recognition, that the government feels that this charity is indeed a worthy organization.

 

Tags: Charity taxes

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2 Responses to “Is it prohibited to take advantage of government tax incentives from giving tzedaka?”

  1. I totally agree. The government obviously hands or these incentives to help the needy; it wouldn’t offer them if it did otherwise.

    Here is the link to the article: http://shma.com/2013/03/its-not-tzedakah-if-we-get-a-tax-break/

    There were no halachic sources in the article regarding the topic which was the source of my confusion.

    Thanks for the quick response

    • The link doesn’t work

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