Laws providing tax deductions for living organ donors have not markedly increased donations, according to a new study.
A study in the August issue of American Journal of Transplantation found no significant difference in annual donation rates in donation rates in the 15 states, including New York, that enacted tax benefits since 2009 and those that haven’t.
Since 2006, New York has allowed a living taxpayer that donates an organ to deduct up to $10,000 in expenses related to the donation. Covered expenses include travel costs, lodging and lost wages.
The study’s authors suggest that the incentives are not working because few people know about the deduction and that the incentive does not cover the actual costs faced by donors.
…in most cases, the value of the tax deduction represents only a fraction of the true total costs faced by living donors. Along these lines, policies that do more to reduce financial burdens — such as increasing the value of tax deductions or moving from tax deductions to tax credits…can potentially reduce a payer’s tax liability below zero — may have a larger impact.
The study underlines the need to encourage organ donation in New York and nationwide. Some data according to the New York Donor Network:
- Nearly 10,000 people are waiting for organ transplants in the New York State.
- More than 7,700 await kidneys; around 1,600 need livers.
- In 2011, a total of 597 people died in New York State while waiting for organ transplants, one person every 15 hours.
- Every two-and-a-half hours, a person’s name is added to the New York State organ transplant waiting list.
To read the full American Journal of Transplantation article, click here.