In 2017, Americans gave an estimated $410 billion in charitable gifts to organizations. This has continued the upward trend of giving we’ve seen in the U.S. in recent years. The majority of this giving was done by individuals. However, before you donate any of your financial assets, you will want to consider each of the following points.
1. The Reputation of the Charity
It is always important to be informed about the charity and its reputation before donating. Research the organization before donating a penny. Any worthwhile charity will spend 75% of its income on programs and upkeep rather than administrative costs. You may be able to find this information in the charity’s annual report. Considering these things before you donate financial assets as charitable gifts you will ensure you are supporting a good cause. It also helps you decide whether or not it fits into your financial plan.
2. Your Portfolio Balance
Donating financial assets to charity means you are also taking them out of your portfolio. You’ll want to consider how getting rid of certain assets will impact your overall finances and the balance of your portfolio. If you want your portfolio to grow, you won’t want to donate all of your growth-oriented stocks. Be sure you aren’t donating stocks that will impact your endgame. Consider consulting a stock advisor or financial professional to ensure the assets you are giving as charitable gifts won’t hinder your long-term goals.
Donations made to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible if you itemize your return. After the recent changes made to the tax law, the standard deduction has increased to $24,000 for married couples and $12,000 for singles. Because of this, many people have less incentive to make charitable gifts (at least for tax reasons).
However, if you donate appreciated stocks you may be permitted to deduct the full fair market value of the gift. This is true even if the amount you paid is only a fraction of the value it is today. On top of that, you may not be subjected to capital gains tax for stocks you sold or gifted to charity.
Another possible way to make a tax-deductible donation is using money from your IRA. After you turn 70 1/2 years old, you are required to begin withdrawing money from your account. You will have to pay taxes on this but you can exclude up to $100,000 of your required minimum distributions per year from your taxable income if you gift the money to a qualified charity.
If you are considering donating any of these appreciated assets to charity, consult your tax advisor before doing so.
Readers, are you giving any charitable gifts this season? How have you decided where to donate?