Make the Most Impact With Your Gift at a Minimum Cost
Each year millions of Americans give tens of billions of noncash contributions to charity, while taking advantage of tax savings and other benefits. By using noncash assets to make your gifts, you can maximize your support.
When the value of an asset has increased and you sell it, you will owe capital gains tax on the increase in value. Appreciated assets held over a year can be given to charity and any tax on the gain can be avoided. You can give:
- Stocks, bonds and mutual funds
- Real estate
- Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
You will also receive an income tax deduction for the full value of the assets—not what you paid for them.
Giving Appreciated Securities
With a gift of securities, you may deduct the full value of the asset instead of what you originally paid for it, and you bypass any capital gains tax you would owe if you sold the asset. This may be a significant tax advantage even if you will not be itemizing deductions on your income tax return this year. Any unused deduction may generally be used to reduce taxes in as many as five future years. The value of gifts of publicly traded securities is considered to be the average of the high and low price on the date of the gift.
Another option: Sell stock that has gone down in value and contribute the proceeds. You’ll be entitled to a capital loss deduction and, if you itemize on your taxes, a charitable deduction.
Every Share Counts
You can still make an impact with stock gifts even if you don’t have several hundred shares. There are many reasons why you may own just a few shares of a particular company: You sold shares but a later dividend left you with just a couple new shares or even a fractional interest; inherited shares were divided between several family members; a company buyout or split resulted in an odd-lot share in your portfolio. Individually these shares might not be significant, but every gift of stock can make an important difference to charity. A gift of shares owned more than one year entitles you to a charitable deduction for the full value if you itemize, with no loss to capital gains tax.
Making a Gift of Real Estate
If you sell real estate you have owned for a number of years, you may be faced with a substantial capital gains tax, especially if the property is not your principal residence. By making an outright gift of such a property, a double tax savings is possible.
- First, in most cases you will receive a charitable income tax deduction for the full current value of the property—not just the original purchase price.
- Second, you will not owe any capital gains tax on the transfer because the property was donated rather than sold.
Leverage Your Gift to Maximum Advantage
Make a significant gift today—If you own property for longer than a year that is fully paid off and has appreciated, you can deduct the property’s full current value, avoid capital gains tax on any increase in value and remove that asset from your taxable estate. Plus, you avoid future expenses such as taxes, insurance and maintenance.
Continue to live there or use the property—You can transfer the deed of your home or farm to charity now and retain the right to use it for your lifetime and/or another person’s lifetime or another period of time. In this life estate arrangement, you are still responsible for taxes and upkeep, but you will receive an immediate tax deduction for the eventual charitable gift. Your spouse or loved one may also continue to live in the property after your lifetime. The charity receives full use of the property when the term of the life estate ends.
Receive an income and tax benefits—Highly appreciated, low-yielding property may be ideal to fund a charitable remainder trust that provides you or your loved ones an income for life or other period of time you choose. Giving in this way may be an especially appealing option if you own real estate that currently yields no immediate financial benefit. You can receive a tax deduction now, bypass capital gains tax, arrange an income stream for yourself or others and make a gift to charity.
Leave a legacy—You can arrange a future gift by leaving real property in your will or living trust.
If you own virtual currencies (also called cryptocurrencies) like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and others, you may want to consider using them to fund your charitable gifts. As with any noncash asset held over a year, it’s best to donate Bitcoin directly to charity, rather than selling them and donating the proceeds.
Your tax deduction will be equal to the fair market value of the Bitcoin based on its value at the time of the gift. By donating Bitcoin directly to charity, instead of selling them and then making a gift, you will avoid capital gains taxes.
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