Roger Colinvaux


  • Columbus School of Law
  • Expertise

  • Nonprofit Organizations and Philanthropy
  • Federal Income Tax
  • Legislation
  • Professor Colinvaux teaches courses in Federal Income Taxation, Property, Legislation, Nonprofit Organizations, and Civil Rights. From 2001-2008, Professor Colinvaux was counsel to the non-partisan Joint Committee on Taxation in the U.S. Congress with responsibility for tax legislation relating to nonprofit organizations.

    Professor Colinvaux is an internationally recognized expert in the tax law of nonprofit organizations. His scholarship focuses on the nonprofit sector and public policy, including reform of charitable giving laws, tax exempt status, nonprofit advocacy activity, donor- advised funds, and conservation easements. His work is often cited by think tanks, policy-makers, courts, and media outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Economist, Politico, Bloomberg, The Atlantic, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy among many others. He speaks regularly at conferences and other forums on nonprofit issues.

    Professor Colinvaux has testified about nonprofit tax reform before the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, advised the White House and the Treasury Department, served as an advisor to the Urban Institute, the National Center on Philanthropy and the Law at NYU, and the Independent Sector (as a member of the Public Policy Committee). He has chaired committees for the American Association of Law Schools and the D.C. Bar, and is a founding member of the Initiative to Accelerate Charitable Giving. He has also co-written amicus briefs on appellate litigation in cases before the 10 th and 11 th Circuits, and the Supreme Court (Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta).

    From 2014-2021, Professor Colinvaux directed the law school’s Law and Public Policy Program.

    Professor Colinvaux received his J.D. from the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and an M.Litt in Politics from Oxford University. After law school, he served as law clerk for the Hon. Theodore R. Boehm of the Indiana Supreme Court. Many of Professor Colinvaux’s publications can be accessed on his SSRN page


    Strings Are Attached: Placing a Spotlight on the Hidden Subsidy for Perpetual Donor Limits on Gifts, 56 Loyola LA L. Rev. 1169 (2023)

    Speeding Up Benefits to Charity by Reforming Gifts to Intermediaries, 63 B. C. L. Rev. 2621 (2022)

    Charitable Tax Reform for the 21st Century, 164 Tax Notes 1867 (Sept. 16, 2019) (with Ray Madoff).

    Fixing Philanthropy: A Vision for Charitable Giving and Reform, 162 Tax Notes 1007 (Mar. 4, 2019).

    Social Welfare and Political Organizations: Ending the Plague of Inconsistency, 21 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y. 481 (2018).

    Failed Charity: Taking State Tax Benefits into Account for Purposes of the Charitable Deduction, 66 Buffalo Law Rev. 779 (2018).

    Defending Place-Based Philanthropy by Defining the Community Foundation, 2018 B.Y.U. L. Rev. 1 (2018)

    Donor Advised Funds: Charitable Spending Vehicles for 21st Century Philanthropy, 92 Wash. L. Rev. 39 (2017).

    The Importance of a Participatory Charitable Giving Incentive, 154 Tax Notes 605 (Jan. 30, 2017).

    The Charitable Contributions Deduction: Federal Income Tax Rules (with Harvey Dale), 68 TAX LAW. 331 (2015).

    Political Activity Limits and Tax Exemption: A Gordian’s Knot, 34 VA. TAX REV. 1 (2014).

    Summary of and Comments on Exempt Organization Provisions of the Tax Reform Act of 2014, Urban Institute and Tax Policy Center (2014),

    Conservation Easements: Design Flaws, Enforcement Challenges, and Reform, 33 UTAH L. REV. 755 (2013).

    Charitable Contributions of Property: A Broken System Reimagined, 50 Harv. J. on Legis. 263 (2013).
    Tax Reform and the Charitable Deduction: Changes Should be Informed by Rationale, 138 Tax Notes 1453, March 25, 2013.
    Enforcing the Enhanced Charitable Deduction: Improved Reporting on the Form 8283, Urban Institute & Tax Policy Center (Dec. 2012).
    The Political Speech of Charities in the Wake of Citizens United: In Defense of Prohibition, 62 CASE WES. L. REV. 685-756 (2012).
    Evaluating the Charitable Deduction and Proposed Reforms, Urban Institute & Tax Policy Center (June 2012) (with Brian Galle & Eugene Steuerle).
    The Conservation Easement Tax Expenditure: In Search of Conservation Value, 37 Colum. J. Envtl. L. 1-61 (2012).
    Charity in the 21st Century: Trending Toward Decay, 11 FLORIDA TAX REV. 1-71 (2011).
    Regulation of Political Organizations and the Red Herring of Tax-Exempt Status, 59 NATL. TAX J. 531-549 (2006).

    Book Chapters

    Ways the Charitable Deduction has Shaped the US Charitable Sector, in RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON NOT-FOR-PROFIT LAW (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2018).

    Nonprofits and Advocacy, in NONPROFITS AND GOVERNMENT: COLLABORATION AND CONFLICT (Urban Institute Press 2016).

    Amicus Briefs

    Amicus Brief, 11th Circuit. Amicus Curiae brief of Roger Colinvaux in Support of Defendants-Appellees: American Alliance for Equal Rights v. Fearless Fund Management, LLC, No. 1:23-cv-34241 (Dec. 13, 2023).

    Amicus Brief, U.S. Supreme Court. Amici Curiae Scholars of the Law of Non-Profit Organizations in Support of Respondent: Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta, Nos. 19-251 & 19-255 (Mar. 31, 2021).

    Amicus Brief, 11th Circuit. Amici Curiae brief of law professors to the 11th Circuit in the case of Pine Mountain Preserve LLP v. Commissioner, 151 T.C. 14 (2018) (Oct. 7, 2019).

    Amicus Brief, 10 th Circuit. Amici Curiae brief of law professors on the prevailing side in the case of Belk v. Commissioner, 774 F.3d 221 (10 th Cir. 2014).

    Congressional Testimony

    Testimony Before the House Committee on Ways & Means, Tax Reform and Charitable Contributions, 32 TAX NOTES 53 (2013).

    Testimony Before the House Committee on Ways & Means, Subcommittee on Oversight96 TAX NOTES 52 (2012).

    Testimony Before the Senate Finance Committee, United States Senate, Tax Reform Options: Incentives for Charitable Giving, 68 EXEMPT ORG. TAX REV. 536 (2011)


    The Status Quo is Not Acceptable When It Comes to Donor-Advised Funds, CHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (Jan. 31, 2022), available at

    Donor Privacy Case Before the Supreme Court is a Threat to Nonprofit Transparency, CHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (Apr. 28, 2021), available at

    We Need to Fix Problematic Charitable Giving Laws. The Biden Administration Can Help,CHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (Jan. 19, 2021), available at

    A Donor-Advised Fund Proposal That Would Work for Everyone, CHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (Sept. 23, 2019) (with Ray Madoff), available at

    Policing the Border: A History of IRS Regulation of Political Activity, HISTPHIL (Aug. 24, 2018), available at

    How the IRS’s Stance on Donor Disclosure Corrupts the Nonprofit WorldCHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (July 26, 2018), available at

    The House Tax Bill Could be the End of Charities as We Know ThemCHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (Nov. 16, 2017), available at

    Hillary Clinton is Starting a Social Welfare Group: What Does that Mean?, THE CONVERSATION (June 1, 2017), available at

    The Johnson Amendment is Important for Keeping Dark Money out of Charity, U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT (Feb. 10, 2017), available at

    Politics and Charity: Do Not Mix, CHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (Nov. 2, 2016), available at

    Congress Needs to Send a Message That Commercial Advised Funds are About Spending not SavingCHRON. OF PHILANTHROPY (Dec. 29, 2015), available at

    IRS Scandal is about Donors not Tax, CNN OPINION (May 17, 2013), available at