This week, the Senate will be combing through 694 amendments to the state budget. We will be debating funding allocations for everything from education, to councils on aging, to homelessness prevention programs.
Debate kicked off at 10 a.m. on Wednesday to a great start. The Senate unanimously passed an amendment filed by Senator Harriet Chandler, and co-sponsored by myself that would remedy a glitch in the Department of Revenues’ system of looking at charitable giving from out-of-state philanthropists.
This amendment would codify the Department of Revenue's (DOR) practice of not looking at charitable contributions when determining an individual's state of residents. DOR only follows a guideline of excluding an individual's charitable activity in determining residency according to a 1990 DOR advisory. However, since this is only a guideline, it is not set in stone, and some auditors were determining residency in Massachusetts by a person’s charitable giving to groups in the state.
As a result, some tax attorneys are advising their clients not to contribute to charities in Massachusetts if they no longer live there, because they could be qualified as residents.
This amendment would change that guideline into a law and prevent confusion when it comes to charitable giving in our state. If the amendment is included in the final version of this year’s budget, an individual who has relocated to another state would still be able to contribute to their favorite Massachusetts charities and non-profits without the risk that they will be considered resident of Massachusetts for tax purposes.
This is common sense legislation that clears up confusion and I am proud to have been a co-sponsor of such useful amendment.
Stay tuned for more updates from budget debate from the Senate.