On April 17, 2013 Governor Scott Walker signed into Wisconsin law new and much less stringent regulations regarding gift annuities (2013 Wisconsin Act 271). The new regulations became effective the next day. Prior to the change in law, Wisconsin was a highly regulated state when it came to gift annuities.
Charitable Gift Types
Why Size Matters
A primary objective in establishing and operating any CRT is to ensure the CRT will have enough money to make the required payments to its life income beneficiary(ies) each year throughout the trust term. Even with a low payout rate, in any given year trust income may fall short of the amount that needs to be paid. Unless the CRT is a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) with a net-income limitation, the CRT will have to make up the difference by drawing on principal.
The modern forms of planned gifts were defined in tax legislation passed in 1969. This legislation created the charitable remainder trust, the charitable lead trust, and the pooled income fund forms that we know today. Prior to this legislation, the tax law governing charitable gifts was generally less restrictive.
A super grantor charitable lead trust is a charitable lead trust that has both grantor trust and non-grantor trust characteristics. Sometimes called a “defective” lead trust, the trust distributes its remaining principal to the donor’s heirs when it terminates.
A non-grantor charitable lead annuity trust is a gift plan defined by federal tax law that allows an individual to transfer assets to family members at reduced tax cost while making a generous gift to a charity. The donor irrevocably transfers assets, usually cash or securities, to a trustee of her choice, such as a bank trust department. The donor receives a gift tax deduction equal to the value of the income stream promised to the charity. Unlike income tax deductions, gift tax deductions are not subject to IRS limitations.
A grantor charitable lead annuity trust is a gift plan defined by federal tax law that allows an individual to retain ultimate possession of an asset while making a generous gift to charity. The donor transfers assets, usually cash or securities, to a trustee of choice, such as a bank trust department. The donor receives an income tax deduction equal to the value of the income stream promised to the charity. Because the gift is deemed to be “for the use of” the charity, the deduction is subject to IRS 20%/30% limitations.
A balloon charitable lead annuity trust is a type of charitable lead annuity trust. Sometimes called a “shark fin” trust, it shares all characteristics of a standard charitable lead annuity trust except that its payments to charity are not the same fixed amount every year. Instead, the payments are a relatively small amount during all but the final year or final few years of the trust, then increase dramatically to a large “balloon” amount to be paid in the final year or final few years of the trust.
The deduction for a gift to most pooled income funds must be computed using the fund's highest yearly rate of return of the past three years. The fund must have three or more taxable years of experience for this rule to apply. Deduction calculations for gifts to young funds that have less than three taxable years of experience use a rate mandated by the IRS.
The exclusion ratio is the portion of the payments made to a gift annuitant that will not be reportable as ordinary income on the annuitant's income tax return.
If the gift annuity was funded with cash, the excluded portion of the annuity will all be tax-free income. If the gift annuity was funded with appreciated property, typically part of the excluded portion will be reportable as tax-free income and part of it as capital gain income.
A step charitable lead annuity trust is a type of charitable lead annuity trust. Sometimes called an escalating payment lead trust, it shares all characteristics of a standard charitable lead annuity trust except that its payments to charity are not the same fixed amount every year. Instead, the payments increase during the term of the trust according to a pre-determined schedule that is included with the lead trust instrument.