PG Calc Featured Articles

Conditions are Ripe for the Step Lead Trust

A charitable lead annuity trust is a way for a wealthy donor to pass assets on to heirs at little or no gift or estate tax cost while providing a generous gift to one or more charities at the same time. During its term, the lead trust makes payments each year to the charity(ies). Whatever assets remain in the lead trust when it terminates are distributed to individuals named by the donor, typically family members. Unlike a charitable remainder trust, which is tax-exempt, a charitable lead trust is a taxable entity, so trust investments need to be managed with this in mind.

Four Proposals to Reduce the Tax Benefits of Making a Gift

In December 2010, Congress passed the Tax Relief, Unemployment Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. Among its numerous provisions, the 2010 Act extended the income tax rate reductions enacted during the Bush administration through December 31, 2012. This means that income and capital gains tax savings from lifetime charitable gifts of cash or other assets will remain unchanged at least until the year following the next presidential election.

In the event that Congress does not act in the meantime, on January 1, 2013 tax rates will revert to those in effect when President Clinton left office; the top income tax rate would be 39.6 percent, capital gains would be taxed at a 20 percent rate, and dividends would be taxed at ordinary income tax rates, potentially as high as 39.6 percent. These changes would increase the tax incentives for charitable giving.

Planned Giving Across State Lines

If your organization has a purely “local” donor base, your planned giving program may not be affected by the laws of any state other than your own. But what happens when a key supporter moves to another state yet still wants to benefit the organization, whether through a charitable gift annuity or simply a bequest? Even charities that routinely work with donors throughout the country have to be mindful of all the ways legal and operational issues can have an impact on planned giving activity.

Beyond Charitable Rollovers: IRAs and their IRD Cousins

It’s clear – even to Congress – that donors and charities have been very pleased with the temporary IRA charitable rollover provision contained in the Philanthropy Protection Act of 2006.  Although the IRA charitable rollover expired at the end of December 2014, the gift planning community is working hard to convince lawmakers to continue, and ideally to expand and make permanent, the tax incentives for using IRAs to make charitable gifts during life.

Stuck in the Middle?

There’s always going to be some minimum funding amount for a charitable remainder trust (CRT). Anything less simply won’t be sufficient. In such a situation, do you somehow try to make a CRT work anyway, or is it better to focus on either a charitable gift annuity (CGA) or some other alternative? As you might expect, it depends.

Is Your Gift Annuity Program Sick or Healthy?

Everyone needs to go to the doctor now and again.  Getting a checkup on a regular basis is important to good health.   The same can be said for your organization's gift annuity program.  Without the benefit of routine assessments, your program may not succeed as well as it could.

Why assess your gift annuity program

There are at least four reasons to assess your gift annuity program.

FASB Liability Values Can Do More Than Just Please Your Auditors

July and August is audit season for many of our clients. With this annual visit from the auditor comes an annual request for calculations to satisfy Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) requirements. These requirements are designed to create uniformity in how charities report their planned gifts, allowing more meaningful comparison of financial statements across charities. While the primary purpose of the FASB requirements is to guide charities to report planned gifts in a standardized way, it is worth considering how these calculations may help you accomplish other tasks. Might your charity’s management team use these calculations, or related ones, to assess the success of your planned giving program, estimate investment and longevity risk, and make adjustments where appropriate?