Don’t be Distracted By Talk About Tax Reform and Cuts
With all the discussion about tax cuts/reform in Washington, don’t be distracted and forget that now is an important time for you to be thinking about year-end tax planning. Yes, the tax laws including those on charitable giving may change in 2018 but let’s focus on what we know about the current charitable giving tax laws.
Now is the time to review your charitable giving to date, how this compares to last year, and estimate your 2017 income and what tax bracket that puts you in. Sometimes an additional charitable contribution will keep you from moving into that next tax bracket. If you have a Donor Advised Fund at THCF you can make a year-end gift into your fund and receive an immediate tax deduction and at a later date make grants out of your fund to your favorite charities. Contributions to Scholarship Funds before year-end would also qualify for the immediate charitable deduction.
With the stock market at record highs, remember that under current tax laws a donation of appreciated securities is one of the most tax-advantaged ways to give. By transferring the securities to a charity (not selling and donating cash) you avoid the capital gain and also get the charitable deduction for the contribution. Stocks in your portfolio with the largest capital gain are the best to donate by having them transferred to the charity. If you wish to make a gift of securities to your fund at the foundation please contact us and we will facilitate the process. If you don’t already have a fund, setting one up is a simple process.
There is a specific charitable giving tool that many retirees can utilize to maximize their support of their favorite charities. If you are 70 ½ or older and have required minimum distributions (RMD’s) that you must take from your IRA, making a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your IRA to your favorite charity is a tax-wise way to make a gift. A distribution of up to $100,000 may be made and the amount will count towards your RMD but will not be recognized as income on your tax return. The distribution must come directly from your IRA custodian to the charity and your IRA custodian should have a form for this type of distribution readily available. We have a number of people who add to their scholarship or designated funds at the Community Foundation using this tool. Unfortunately, under current law Donor Advised Funds do not qualify for a QCD. We don’t know if this charitable giving tool will be available after the tax laws change, but you can certainly take advantage of it this year.
So, let’s focus on what is known for this tax year as we wait for the dust to settle on Tax Cuts/Reform. Get a jump now on your year-end tax planning and remember a year-end gift to your fund here at the Foundation should be an important component of your plan.