For many, the final season of the year is a time to count your blessings and to give back. It’s no wonder that it’s often called the “giving season.” In fact, 40 percent of charitable donations are made during the last half of the year. With this in mind, we would like to offer 13 tips that will help you make the most of your year-end giving and maximize the impact of your charitable investment.
- Talk to your advisor
Before making any significant gift to charity, consult with your CPA, attorney or other advisor to understand the impact on your taxes and estate.
- Consider your income
Take time to understand your tax liability for the year. Did your unearned income increase? Did you sell any appreciated assets? The answers to these questions may determine how much you want to give by December 31.
- Review your stocks
If you’d like to make a year-end charitable gift, consider giving appreciated stock. Selling stock will incur capital gains on the appreciation, but if you gift stock, you will receive a charitable deduction for the current market value of the stock – just as you would with a cash gift. Such gifts are deductible up to 30% of your adjusted gross income and you can carry the deduction forward for up to an additional five years
- Give early and complete your gift by December 31
A gift by check is complete when mailed (postmarked) to the charitable recipient, even if not cashed until the following year. Gifts by credit card are complete when your credit card account is charged. Gifts of stock and real estate are more complex; don’t wait until late December to make these gifts as it may be too late to make the necessary arrangements.
- Know the organizations you support
While there are many worthy causes, only donations to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible. If you give through the Community Foundation, we will document the status of all nonprofits prior to making a gift on your behalf and can help you identify organizations that are qualified to receive your gift.
- Do you have more than enough?
If you’re receiving taxable income from retirement plan assets or life insurance policies, there are a number of tax-advantaged ways to make these assets work for you and the causes you support. The Charitable IRA Rollover Act, for example, allows donors age 70 ½ or older to donate up to $100,000 from their IRA without counting the distribution as income.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday… #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. It’s a movement that encourages individuals and organizations to give – whether it’s their volunteered time, charitable donations, or even the power of your own “voice” on social media. Join the celebration and give back on #GivingTuesday. To learn more about #GivingTuesday, visit givingtuesday.org.
- Explore employer gift matching programs
Many companies offer gift matching programs that can increase—even double—the impact of your gift.
- Give now – decide later
If you are planning for a charitable tax deduction this year but are undecided about which nonprofits to support, consider opening a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation. You can claim a deduction for contributions to your fund now even though distributions from the fund might be made in future years.
- Create a giving plan
The Community Foundation can help you create a giving plan to help you think strategically about how you give and to what organizations. This ensures that your donations make the greatest impact on the causes you care about while maximizing tax advantages.
- Let the Community Foundation do the legwork
Working with a philanthropic advisor at the Community Foundation gives you access to our extensive knowledge of the local nonprofit community and the broad charitable needs of our region – so you can stay informed about the organizations you support and the effect your giving will have on the future of our community.
If you use Amazon for holiday shopping – or anytime of the year – be sure to use amazon.smile.com. It’s the same Amazon you would normally use (same products, prices, etc.), however 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases will be donated by Amazon to the charitable organization of your choice.
- Talk to your advisor
If you have any questions about giving with the GiveWell Community Foundation, please give us a call at (863) 683 – 3131. And to you and yours, we wish you happy holidays and a happy new year!