Thoughts on Taxes and Giving

This winter, Sharpe Group conducted a 3-day planned giving seminar, The Essentials of Gift Planning & Taxes, as part of our Sharpe Online Academy. This seminar is based on the 5-day comprehensive seminar traditionally held in person each year in Florida. The 5-day seminar typically includes twenty-two sessions in addition to multiple informal gatherings for “shop talk” and questions.

Converting a week-long training into a new 3-day virtual format was a monumental task. We needed to carefully think about the essential components of gift planning and taxes that should be included in a condensed 3-day seminar, as well as create a number of interactive panel discussions designed to enrich the learning experience. More than a dozen presenters and panelists—with several hundred years of combined experience working with donors and advisors to effectively plan their gifts—participated in this professional advancement seminar.

By focusing on the “essentials” of planned giving and taxes, presenters moved beyond the content in our broader 2-day Sharpe Online Academy presentations and focused on the most popular gift planning techniques and explored the appropriate role of taxes in the gift planning process.

As most experienced gift planners know, taxes are rarely the primary reason that donors make a charitable gift, but large gifts carefully planned to meet a donor’s specific personal and philanthropic objectives, often are influenced by favorable tax treatment. For example, what would happen to gifts of long-term appreciated stock if such gifts triggered capital gains tax?

It can be a mistake to over-emphasize various tax considerations, and it is also a mistake to underemphasize tax considerations that may apply to a particular gift scenario. The key is to listen to your donor and help them understand various options that may allow them to make a gift larger than would be otherwise possible.

When planning future gift planning communications and strategies, it’s important to consider that tax rates and deductions change but generous people are eager to make the most of their philanthropic intentions.

By Barlow T. Mann, General Counsel
 

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