Sharpe Blog

Sharpe Blog

Posted January 10th, 2017

What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean for Charitable Giving?

Perhaps we’re about to see. In the early to mid-1980s, interest rates were high and gift annuities were out of favor. Why out of favor? Because a fixed payment rate less than the prevailing safe interest rate is a sure money loser. Rising interest rates, even if not yet “high,” ratchet down the value of… read more

Posted December 27th, 2016

Some Possible Tax Changes for 2017

With the legislative and executive branches of the federal government about to be under the control of one party, the time is growing ripe for a major tax bill. Already there is much being written about a push for a lower top federal income tax rate. A lower top rate would diminish the tax savings… read more

Posted December 12th, 2016

Let’s Look at Some Gifts That Are Not Deductible

That is, not deductible for federal income tax purposes. Gift of services – A gift of services (say, specialized investment or accounting services) may be valuable to a charity; but the value of the services is not deductible. The provider of the services may be awarded gift credit, of course. The IRS doesn’t care about… read more

Posted December 1st, 2016

Let’s Review the Date-of-Gift Rules: Part 2

Read part one here. Let’s continue, beginning with credit card gifts. Charities typically don’t know the date of gift for a gift via credit card. Why? Because the date of gift is the date the charge is posted to the donor’s account as shown on the credit card statement. This is the date the donor… read more

Posted November 15th, 2016

Let’s Review the Date-of-Gift Rules: Part 1

Year’s end is approaching, bringing with it the potential for some sticky date-of-gift questions. First, let’s be clear about what’s meant by “date of gift.” This is the date the gift is made for federal income tax purposes. There is only one such date (day). For this year-end, it’s going to fall into either 2016… read more

Posted October 31st, 2016

How Does State Law Affect Charitable Giving and Gift Planning?

A lot, a whole lot. Here are just some highlights: Pledges: Whether the donor’s executor must honor the donor’s pledge to the extent it remains unpaid at donor’s demise. Trustee’s obligation to provide information: Whether and to what extent the trustee of an outside-managed trust has a duty to provide information about the trust. Charitable… read more

Posted October 5th, 2016

IRS Publication 526: “Charitable Contributions”

IRS issues publications on many tax topics. An especially valuable publication for charitable gift planners is Pub 526, “Charitable Contributions”. Pub 526 is updated each year, so if you download it, try to get the most recent version. Like all IRS publications, Pub 526 technically cannot be relied upon, in the sense that IRS is… read more

Posted September 20th, 2016

Can Assets in a Trust Be Used to Make a Charitable Gift?

This question arises all the time. How do we think about it? The starting point is the trustee of the trust. The trustee holds legal title to all trust assets. That is, holds legal title for local law purposes. If the trust is revocable by its creator, the creator is deemed to own all the… read more

Posted September 8th, 2016

Let’s Look at the 1974 Jordan Case from Florida

In the shadow of the press surrounding Duke University’s recent suit against a donor’s estate (and subsequently dropping of said suit), we’ll look at another case that bears resemblance and how the courts ruled on it. The 1974 Jordan Case is an important state court case on the enforceability of pledges. It arose because an individual… read more

Posted August 22nd, 2016

The Importance of Proper Gift Receipts

Let’s take a look at the Durden Case, which case involves $25,171 in cash contributions made by the Durdens to their church in 2007. This is a Tax Court case. The Durdens went to court because the IRS threw out their claimed charitable deduction for these gifts. Let’s be clear. There was no dispute over… read more

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