While the holiday shopping season is in full effect with Amazon Prime days, and Black Friday sales are dominating media advertisements, there is also another holiday tradition which will require our participation: giving season. This year may be particularly challenging because inflation is on the rise and is affecting our daily living costs.
This reality provokes the question of whether one gives at all, and if so, how much should one give? Last year’s level of giving proves insufficient to meet the demands of today. Today, the cost associated with providing assistance for the poor, hungry, homeless and “the least the these” has increased year over year by over eight percent. As one former politician eloquently stated, “everyone has an advocate in Washington DC except the poor.” So, considering these dynamics, how can we give during this holiday season?
Donating an appreciated asset such as a stock or other investment is one of the smartest ways you can assist non-profit organizations or churches. This is especially true given the volatility in the stock market. While some of your investments may have lost value, not all investments have been affected equally. If you choose to donate stock to a charity, you will generally become eligible for some tax benefits.
The basic benefits would be that you will qualify for a deduction at fair market value. That means that if you purchased an asset at $100 a few years ago, and now it is worth $300; when you donate that asset to a church or qualified tax exempt organization, you receive a $300 write off. Using this strategic approach would allow you to eliminate capital gain taxes. Thus, you can increase your charitable contribution, and increase your deduction at the same time.
A final note here is that rather than selling your appreciated stocks or assets you may appreciated donation to rebalance your portfolio. Plus, instead of using your checkbook to write a contribution with after tax dollars, you could now purchase or repurchase new stocks at a lower cost basis and watch them appreciate over time and continue to donate to your favorite charitable organization.
Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) is what I call required spending. In non-complex Internal Revenue Service (IRS) language; Required Minimum Distributions are generally a minimum amount that a retirement plan account owner must withdraw annually starting at age 72, or 70, subject to some other rules. These funds must be withdrawn and could be used to make charitable contributions as part of your giving strategy. You must withdraw the RMD amounts because failure to do so, will result in the IRS taxing the un-withdrawn amounts at 50%. The type of retirement plans which require distributions include 401(K) plans, 403 (b) plans and 457 (b) plans.
Other Ways to Give:
Besides the above suggested ways to give there are other options starting with the most basic of taking out your checkbook or sending contributions through an App or third party such as Zelle.
Finally, some other methods of making a charitable contribution are beyond the scope of this article and will require you to consult with your accountant and tax professionals. These may include establishing a Donor Advised Fund and a concept known as bunching, converting some of your traditional IRA account(s) or 401 (K) accounts to a Roth IRA in a volatile market where there are low balances in your retirement account or using your equity compensation as a charitable contribution.
Today’s what’s up is about your estate planning documents. This week is National Estate Planning Awareness. It’s the week to update your power of attorney, will, trust another important documents. Visit www.naepc.org for more information. And that’s what’s up!
Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC . Give2Get Rich, LLC 2022. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.