A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation this week to expand a tax break for charitable giving to encourage taxpayers to donate to nonprofit organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Universal Giving Pandemic Response Act, introduced by Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tim Scott (R-SC) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), would build on a provision in the CARES Act that allows a $300 deduction for charitable donations from taxpayers who don’t itemize their deductions. The senators’ bill would allow non-itemizers to get a charitable deduction of up to one-third of the standard deduction for the 2019 and 2020 tax years – around $4,000 for individuals and around $8,000 for married couples filing jointly.

“Nonprofits uphold Americans in our times of greatest need,” Lankford said. “Now it is time for Americans to uphold nonprofits in their moment of need…This proposal incentivizes additional giving during a time of crisis in our nation.”

Under the bill, taxpayers who make donations this year prior to the new tax-filing deadline of July 15 would be able to claim those deductions on their 2019 tax return. Those who have already filed taxes for 2019 would be able to amend their returns to receive the deduction.