In some instances when the taxpayer makes a charitable donation, the loss of revenue to the government, and the corresponding gain to the taxpayer, far exceeds the benefit to the charity. Some of these losses may be generated by government sanctioned complex transactions and even government created devices. This article proposes a new way to examine "quid pro quo" charitable gifts that reflects the rationale for the charitable deduction.The article analyzes various charitable donations in terms of the dollars gained by the taxpayer, the dollars lost by the government, and the dollars received by the charity. After considering a sliding scale of benefits to the charities in light of the revenue losses to the government and taxpayer gains, the article makes some normative conclusions about whether the good a donor does justifies his currently available tax benefits and then proposes some solutions.
From the Greedy to the Needy, 87 Or. L. Rev. 1133 (2008)