charitable deduction

Recording of Tax Briefing on Sale!

We had 250 people on our live tax briefing today!

The session was very well received – here are a few of the comments we received:

“Thanks for the webinar today. Any chance you’d be interested in holding a seminar for donors about how the new tax bill might affect their charitable giving.”

“Nice job on the presentation today.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed and was educated by your webinar today.”

“Thank you so much for an informative session this morning!”

“Thanks so much for the webinar presentation today regarding the 2018 Tax Law changes — I found it to be very helpful.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the presentation this morning and got a number of questions answered, plus good direction for the future with the 70 1/2s and their IRAs. Thanks!”

If you are still interested in the topic – you can now purchase the recording!


Charitable Deduction OK?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 14, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Finally a hint as to the potential fate of the charitable deduction under any tax reform: NO CHANGE – at least that is what U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said yesterday.

Not that the media wants to cover such a mundane topic that doesn’t involve Russian espionage and various nefarious stuff.

Also, he said it looks like August is when we’ll have a tax reform so relax for awhile .

Food For Thought From Giving USA 2015

Wealthier Americans Leave Charitable BequestsAnyone who has been in or around planned giving for some time knows that most charitable bequests come from typical direct mail-type donors – $50 a year for many years – maybe your secret millionaires next door but certainly not your “leadership” donors.

But, take a look at Giving USA 2015.  The general rate of charitable estates in America is still about 5% of all decedents. Now, take a look again at our chart above.  Notice that the actual rate of inclusion of charitable bequests climbs from 15.7% for estates under $5 million all the way up to over 50% for mega wealthy Americans (over $50 million estates).

In other words, take a look around at your next board meeting. Ask yourself: How many individuals around the table fall into these potential estate levels?  Then, ask yourself: How many of these board members have we had any discussion about their legacy with our institution?

If your board has individuals with these wealth levels, easily 1/3 or more of them will include some charitable gift in their estates.  Will it be yours?

Still wondering what’s the best year-end giving advice?

At this point – with only 3 business days left in the year and the country headed towards what I coined “Tax Doomsday” in March this year (when very few others were concerned) – there is not much left to say.

On donors advancing their gifting, clearly donor advised fund (DAF) programs benefited from all of the talk about capping deductions.  My friend Bryan Clontz at the Dechomai Foundation (a DAF dedicated to accepting non-cash/unusual assets) reported that they tripled their best year with over $75 million in DAF contributions this year.  Fidelity and Schwab DAFs already reported their stellar years to the Wall Street Journal.

So, if you are one of the few working – as I am (not sure how planned giving fundraisers can justify taking off at this time of the year) – and you have donors talking to you about these issues, here is what I think the advice is:

For those considering $1 million or greater sized gifts (or anywhere near that level) in 2013 and beyond, you may want to advance those gifts in any way you can.  The top tax bracket donor will easily lose over $40,000 in deduction rebates (actual cash loss) if they tamper with deduction caps.  In a worst case (for the donor) scenario, a donor loses over $100,000 in deductions on such sized gifts (if a 28% cap on deduction is passed).  See what I have written about over the past few weeks: capping deductions still is an attractive option to Congress if they actually hammer out a new tax deal.

For everyone else, donors should feel free to gift this year (and get the tax benefits now) and/or plan on gifting next year (when it may or may not be worth more).  There is no way to guarantee what will be with the Fiscal Cliff – that is why those wavering on their year-end gifts should go ahead and at least receive the benefits they know are available.

For all of the build up on these issues, I feel a bit of a let down. There is nothing exciting to report – just encourage your donors to stay the course and see what happens in 2013.  Once 2013 kicks in though, and all of the doomsday tax scenarios become a reality, I am sure I will be back with more exciting posts!  And, reasons why fundraisers need to get their planned giving houses in order!