Tax form donations shifting
Feb 23, 2012
Compared to 10 years ago, Ohioans filing their state income taxes today contribute less to Ohio political parties through their tax forms, but they give more to environmental preservation and injured veterans.
In 2011 about 261,000 people, compared to 512,000 in 2002, checked a box on their Ohio income tax forms to direct $1 of taxes they already paid to the Ohio Political Party Fund. That money is split among Ohio Republican and Democratic parties to cover administrative costs and fund get-out-the-vote efforts.
In addition, taxpayers last year could choose to donate to any of three causes through their tax returns: a fund that gives money to injured veterans and a pair that donate to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for programs that preserve riverbanks and wildlife.
All three raised more money than the Ohio Political Party check box; the most popular was the Military Injury Relief Fund, to which 32,900 people opted to donate a total of $481,000. All of it goes for tax-free $500 grants (the amount has ranged as high as $1,000, but was reduced this year) to veterans injured in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Ohio Department of Taxation officials said.
Overall, donations from tax forms are down about 20% since 2006. The addition of a new giving option this year, a box to write in donations to the Ohio Historical Society, could further decrease the amount each fund receives. Tax officials have generally observed that the more charitable options people have to choose from on their tax forms, the less each cause receives.