Taxation

Non-Deductible Gifts That Save Taxes Anyway

Gift planners have become adept at explaining the tax advantages of Qualified Charitable Distributions, even though there is no income tax charitable deduction involved. But are there advantages for other non-deductible charitable contributions?

Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is yes! Especially these days, with fewer taxpayers itemizing than ever, it is helpful to be prepared to discuss non-deductible contributions with prospective donors.

In this article, we will review three options for charitable gift planning without an income tax charitable deduction:

  • Contributions of appreciated property from non-itemizers,
  • Gifts of services, and
  • Contributions of ordinary income property.

ACE Act Proposes Important Changes in DAF Rules

No doubt, you have heard about looming changes threatening the long-established rules governing donor advised funds (DAFs). Some commentators are sounding the alarm. The Philanthropy Roundtable says the changes “would stifle charitable giving, harming those in need.” Others welcome the effort to free up charitable dollars they believe have been squirrelled away for far too long. We will leave the Wagnerian sturm und drang to others, but it is important to understand these proposals and what may be coming our way.

On June 9, 2021, Senator Angus King (I-ME) introduced Senate Bill 1981, the Accelerating Charitable Efforts Act (the “ACE Act”) with Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) as a co-sponsor. The bill was referred to the Committee on Finance. As of this writing, there are no additional co-sponsors and no companion legislation in the House. Although legislative prognosticators give the ACE Act only a 1% chance of becoming law in its current form, parts of it could find their way into other legislation. In addition, the ACE Act is heating up long-simmering debates about donor advised funds and private foundations.

Although the ACE Act includes some significant changes to the private foundation rules, donor advised funds are the primary focus – some will say “target” – of the bill. Following is a summary of major provisions of the ACE Act that apply to donor advised funds.

A Look at the New CASE Global Reporting Standards

The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) has released its “Global Reporting Standards, 1st Edition.” The vision for the Standards is audacious: “the first truly worldwide standards for advancement in education.” True to its title, among the book’s 350+ pages are supplemental chapters that provide specific guidance for counting charitable gifts in six different countries around the globe.

Although the primary focus is to articulate standards for the counting and recognition of all types of charitable contributions that will facilitate comparisons among educational institutions worldwide, the Standards also cover a broad range of issues beyond counting and recognition. There are extensive sections on ethics and standards of practice for advancement professionals, as well as guidance for navigating issues involving donor control and the moral thickets that can arise when a donor’s nefarious past comes to light.

Even if your organization is not involved in the education sector, it behooves you to be familiar with the CASE Standards. 

Change Is Here

As of the writing of this article, the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden, Jr. as the 46th President of the United States is just days away. Although past changes in the balance of political power have had little impact on overall charitable giving, we know that when donors experience uncertainty they tend to postpone and delay their giving decisions. This is a natural reaction: charitable giving is optional and, faced with uncertainty, the rational choice is to slow down or defer giving until the future becomes clearer.

Changes in tax law can create new and different gift opportunities. Gift planners will need to watch carefully and be prepared to react strategically to changing circumstances. What concerns might surface among donors? Could potential changes affect donors’ gift plans? How might we anticipate and address them? In this article we begin with a review of some concerns that are likely to be on donors’ minds with respect to charitable giving followed by a discussion of some of the essential processes by which Washington works.

 

Tax Implications of the Next President

PG Calc speculates and offers commentary about impending changes to Federal tax policy and the possible impacts on charitable giving. However, written on the eve of America’s transition to the Biden/Harris administration and the beginning of the 117th Congress, there’s a good chance that parts of it will pass into the category of "things we know for sure that just ain't so."

Recording Deaths in Prior Years in GiftWrap

The Record Death function in GiftWrap is designed to make adjustments to the payment and tax information for gift annuities. When an annuitant is deceased, the function can move future payment and tax information to a successor beneficiary, if any, or remove future payment and tax information for terminated gifts and change the gift status to Finished.

However, GiftWrap can make these adjustments automatically only for deaths in the current or immediately prior Organization Year. If the death occurs two or more years earlier than the current Organization Year, the Record Death function will mark the annuitant as deceased, but all adjustments to the payments and tax schedule must be done manually.

Tax Reform Provisions That Could Affect Charitable Giving

Under Republican leadership, Congress is working feverishly to complete the details of sprawling tax reform legislation, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and have it on President Trump’s desk for his signature by the end of this year. The House bill was voted on and approved on November 16.  On the same day, the Senate Finance Committee approved their version of the package.

Oh, Those Pesky Capital Gains (The Consequences of Capital Gains in Planned Gifts)

Everyone likes to avoid capital gains – or more specifically, we should say, everyone likes to avoid the taxes on realized capital gains. That’s a given. When an investor sells assets that have appreciated over time, typically there is tax on the built-up appreciation in those holdings, at least by the federal government, and frequently by the state government as well. The owner of the stock reports capital gains even if the owner of the stock uses the sale proceeds immediately to make charitable gifts. On the other hand, if the donor uses appreciated assets for outright charitable gifts, there is no taxation on the long-term appreciation in the holdings.

Are You Ready for the End?

The end we are talking about is the end of calendar year 2016.  Are you ready?  Most charities concentrate on year-end giving in the fourth quarter and for good reason.  A study conducted by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University focused on high-net worth donors found that 42.7 percent of those surveyed gave more during the holidays than the rest of the year. Nonetheless, in addition to soliciting and encouraging gifts at the end of the calendar year, it is also a time for planned giving departments to prepare and plan.