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State tax incentives do not appear to increase the rate of living organ donation
Date:8/30/2012

e Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, the investigators analyzed trends in living donation rates in the five years before and up to four years immediately after tax incentives were adopted in the 15 states that had such policies in 2009. For states with no tax benefit for donation, they tracked donation rates in the five years prior to and following 2005.

In the years before tax policies were enacted, differences in donation rates between both groups of states were slight, and the researchers found no significant increase in donations in states with tax policies in the years following enactment. These findings held across subgroups for gender, race, and the relationship of the donor to the recipient.

The authors note several potential reasons why tax policies had little impact on donation rates, including the relatively low cash value of the incentives less than $1,000 for a middle-income family of four in most states and a lack of awareness of the incentives, even at state Donate Life offices. They add that future studies should examine these factors more closely and explore potential additional strategies for increasing living donations.

"These tax incentives cost the states very little, so there is no real reason to do away with them," says Venkataramani. "Instead we should focus on improving them to better encourage living donation. And even if these policies don't increase donor rates, they benefit individuals who donate regardless of any financial incentives and provide an incredible gift, sometimes to strangers. If tax deductions can help them with their expenses, perhaps reducing the stress of donation, that is certainly worthwhile."


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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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