New Infrastructure Law Has Many Implications for Nonprofits


U.S. President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law on Monday, November 15, 2021, at the White House. Also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, this package directs more than a trillion dollars into projects improving the nation’s roads, bridges, ports, railways, water and electric systems, and more.

After the House of Representatives advanced the Senate-brokered deal by a vote of 228-206 earlier this month, Biden called it a “ a once-in-generation bipartisan infrastructure bill that will create millions of jobs, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st century.”

One opportunity ECFA members may wish to explore is the law’s $50 million Nonprofit Energy Efficiency pilot program. Once the U.S. Department of Energy executes this directive, Section 501(c)(3) organizations will be able to apply for grants of up to $200,000 to make energy-efficient upgrades to their facilities.

On the other hand, ECFA members should also take note that one-way lawmakers chose to pay for the infrastructure bill is by sunsetting the Employee Retention Tax Credit one quarter earlier than originally planned. Wages paid by nonprofits after September 30, 2021, are now ineligible for this refundable payroll tax credit.

The enactment of the infrastructure law allows Congress to turn its attention to other pressing matters including government funding and debt limit battles that lawmakers punted to December earlier this autumn. The White House and many Democrats on Capitol Hill are also keenly interested in approving some version of the President’s Build Back Better social policy agenda through a majority-rules budget mechanism that enables them to bypass Republican objections. However, disagreements within the party, particularly between its progressive and more moderate wings, remain a stumbling block.

As negotiations on all of these measures continue to siphon time and energy in the waning days of 2021, the expiration of numerous tax provisions favorable to charitable giving also looms large. In particular, the universal charitable deduction – currently a $300 above-the-line benefit for individual taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions — is set to sunset at the end of this year. ECFA is urging legislators to extend and expand charitable giving incentives, including the successful universal charitable deduction, as they wrap up work for 2021.


This text is provided with the understanding that ECFA is not rendering legal, accounting, or other professional advice or service. Professional advice on specific issues should be sought from an accountant, lawyer, or other professional.