In France, contributions to churches and charities are treated just contributions to political parties: taxpayers get a 66 percent CREDIT for contributions up to 20 percent of income. (Mighty generous.) My old French major in college finally comes in handy, if I’m reading this right.
OK, the IRS scandal arises from treating political and charitable ENTITIES differently, and the French similarity is for DONATIONS. I haven’t looked up the French treatment at the entity level. But the scandal would not have happened if 501(c)(3)s, 501(c)(4)s, and 527s were all treated the same way at the entity level. Not that I recommend that. But drawing the line as the IRS was supposed to do around good 501(c)(4)s seems like a really hard task.
Some French political contributions have a further cap on the credit of 9,900 euros per year — but not all.