Tax incentives for organ donations - John R. Dundon II, Enrolled Agent
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Tax incentives for organ donations

Tax incentives for organ donations

Lisa Milot (Georgia) has published Find 45 Willamette L. Rev. 67′ target=_blank>The Case Against Tax Incentives for Organ Transfers, 45 Willamette L. Rev. 67 (2008). Here is the Conclusion:

Upon initial consideration, providing tax incentives for organ donations might seem to reflect a sound legislative and ideological approach, consistent with the current tax code. In addition, such an approach avoids economic coercion of individuals who, absent financial incentives, would prefer not to transfer their organs but who may feel that they have no option once financial incentives are possible by taking advantage of the progressive nature of our tax system. Moreover, by routing payments through our tax system and casting transfers as donations, concerns about commodification of our bodies are allayed.

On closer analysis it becomes evident that such incentives conflict with the goals of maintaining vertical equity, transparency, and administrability/simplicity within our tax system. Such incentives would convert what is otherwise currently a non-tax event into a tax item, increasing complexity without providing an unequivocal reason for doing so. In addition, use of the tax system to provide financial incentives for organ transfers provides differential returns to taxpayers based upon a completely unrelated event: their tax bracket. Finally, use of tax incentives instead of direct payments obscures the underlying financial reality of the proposals, preventing meaningful reflection on implications for our understanding of ourselves. While we could simply decide to use the tax system this way, any such decision should be carefully considered.