2017-12-06 / Columns

Tips for getting the most out of your end-of-year charitable giving

President, Jewish Commuunity Foundation, Inc.

Got your gift wish list? Spending budget? Shopping shoes (and/or laptop, as the case may be)?

Yes? The season of shopping and giving is off and running!

Now, on a related note, have you considered a gift that benefits the community, and your tax bill as well?

Over 30% of all charitable donations are made during the month of December, the busiest time of year for generous donors to give back.

The key question is—are you getting the biggest bang for your charitable buck?

Before using your checkbook for charitable giving, the Jewish Community Foundation, Inc. encourages you to be strategic with your finances. By utilizing the following tips, you can save big on taxes, thus ensuring a nice gift to yourself while helping others:

• Donate Appreciated Stocks: Stocks have soared for nearly a decade. With appreciated stocks or other assets you have a fantastic opportunity to donate them directly to charity and increase your gift’s impact on your tax bill. Why? Well, as a recent CNBC.com article put it: “People with investments in stocks, bonds and other securities can donate those that have appreciated in value that they’ve held for at least one year, resulting in significant income-tax savings. In fact, donating stock saves even more taxes than donating cash, since there is no capital gains tax when appreciated securities are given to a nonprofit.”

Got stocks to donate? Tip #2 may be up your alley as well.

• Launch a Donor Advised Fund (DAF): Perhaps you have appreciated assets that you would like to parse out to benefit multiple charities. Or you may want to spread out your gifts over the course of weeks, months, or years, but want the tax benefits today. By opening a DAF with the JCF, you can transfer your assets directly to your new fund, gain an immediate tax deduction, and then quickly and easily recommend grants via our online platform to any qualified non-profits at any time in the future. Plus, your DAF will be invested and can grow over time so you may be able to provide more to your charities of choice.

• Put Your RMD to Good Use: Are you at least 70 1/2 years young? Do you hold an IRA? If so, you can transfer up to $100,000 from your IRA to charity, and, by doing so, satisfy your RMD (required minimum distribution), while also avoiding an increase in your adjusted gross income. Making a transfer from your IRA can be a savvy way to benefit our SNJ Jewish community and even leave a legacy.

• Think about the Future: As you review your retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and estate plans, you can easily change your beneficiaries and designate a portion of your portfolio to go to charity. By designating the JCF as a beneficiary, you will be able to create a legacy through an endowment fund, which provides annual income to your non-profit(s) of choice. Plus your estate may earn a charitable tax deduction.

As always, be sure to check with your trusted advisor to discuss your personal finances and taxes.

To learn more about any of these year-end giving options, please contact Seth Mirowitz at (856) 673-2521 or smirowitz@jfedsnj.org. Hurry! Any donations need to be processed by Dec. 31 (which is a Sunday) to qualify for 2017 taxes.

On behalf of the JCF Board and staff, happy Chanukah and happy New Year to you and your family.

Now, happy shopping…and donating! 

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