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Rep. Wenstrup Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Expand Charitable Deduction Rules for Veterans Service Organizations

Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the VSO Equal Tax Treatment (VETT) Act, bipartisan and bicameral legislation which would update a provision in the Federal tax code that currently prevents Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) from accepting tax-deductible donations unless they maintain a membership of at least 90 percent wartime veterans. These current rules exclude veterans who joined and served after the Vietnam War and prior to the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate.

"Veterans Service Organizations offer vital support and a sense of community to Americans who wore our nation's uniform and sacrificed so much for our country. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation makes needed reforms to the tax code that will help VSOs grow and maintain their memberships without having to risk losing their ability to receive tax-deductible charitable donations," said Rep. Wenstrup.

"Veteran service organizations are integral to supporting those in our communities who served our country in uniform, but that mission is being held back by outdated classifications in our tax code,” said Rep. Panetta. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan, bicameral, commonsense legislation to ensure that charitable contributions to these organizations are tax deductible. This way our federal tax code could incentivize and encourage Americans to continue supporting organizations that serve those who served America."

"Veteran service organizations provide vital support, assistance and community programming for those who served our nation,”
said Sen. Duckworth. “I’m proud to co-lead this legislation to reform our tax code so that it promotes, rather than discourages, involvement in these community organizations, helping ensure they can continue to be a resource for Veterans to lean on."

"Veterans—regardless of whether they served in wartime or peacetime—should be treated equally,” said Dr. Cassidy. “Our bill fairly treats millions of military men and women who served our great nation.”

"AMVETS is grateful to Representatives Wenstrup and Panetta for stepping up and doing the right thing for our Nation’s veterans. Their introduction of the VSO Equal Tax Treatment Act (VETT ACT) will ensure that our Congressionally Chartered veteran groups are able to receive tax-deductible contributions similar to other nonprofits. Our veteran groups have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, and this change will mean a world of difference to our local AMVETS posts," said AMVETS National Commander, Don McLean. 

The VETT Act is endorsed by AMVETS, American Legion, AMSUS, Commissioned Officers Association of the USPHS, Fleet Reserve Association, Jewish War Veterans, Military Order of the World Wars, Non Commissioned Officers Association, U.S. Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association, and TREA: The Enlisted Association.