The Holiday season is upon us, and many people are in the spirit of giving. As a Financial Advisory firm, we are here to answer any of the tough questions you may have about who, what, or how to donate money and support organizations and people you believe in. Deschutes Financial Advisor Laura Fallon-Burns, CFP® states, "I really believe that even small amounts of money supporting organizations that share your values and are working on real change that you want to see in the world ...can make a big difference." If charitable donations are a part of your current or future financial plan, then we have some information and tips that might interest you.
To make the most of your giving, here are a few items to consider:
Research Charitable Organizations
Before you donate your hard-earned money, it is a good idea to check out the organization. A qualified charity will have 501(c)(3) status and have an EIN Federal Tax ID indicating it’s federally recognized as a non-profit organization. Third-party websites like Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and Give Well offer unbiased, independent ratings and evaluations of charitable organizations. These sites can offer important insights into how donated money is distributed. If you’re considering making a sizeable donation, it may be helpful to speak directly with the chosen charity to discuss how the gift will be utilized.
Maximize Your Donations
If you haven’t already, check with your employer about what opportunities they provide regarding charitable giving. Many employers offer matching programs up to certain limits. If you purchase items from Amazon, you may also want to consider making purchases through the AmazonSmile program. This is a year-round program where you make purchases through AmazonSmile, and you will earn 0.5% of eligible purchases to a participating charitable organization of your choice. To get started visit https://smile.amazon.com/.
Consider Itemizing Your Deductions
For many people, charitable giving is about mostly about feeling good about supporting organizations that reflect your personal values. However, you may also be able to get a tax deduction for your charitable donations if you itemize on an IRS Schedule A form. To do this, you’ll need a donation letter or receipt from the charity to document your contribution. If the charity does not provide proof of donation (and some do not), you may be able to use other forms of proof such as canceled checks or copies of bank statements.
Make Non-Cash Donations
Many charities welcome non-cash donations. In fact, donating an appreciated asset (held over 1 year) can be a tax-savvy move. For example, you may wish to consider gifting highly appreciated stocks or mutual funds. Since selling securities can lead to a taxable event, it may be wiser to transfer appreciated securities directly to your charity of choice. This strategy can help donors eliminate the capital gains tax they would otherwise incur if they sold the assets first and then donated the funds.
Start a Donor Advised Fund
If you are someone who consistently makes annual gifts, you may want to consider opening a Donor Advised Fund. This type of fund allows you to contribute cash or other assets such as publicly traded securities to the fund and receive the same year's tax deduction. You can then make grants to qualified charities over time. There are many Donor-Advised Funds available, some with no or very low minimum contributions. Because you can leave your Donor Advised Fund to named beneficiaries, it is a good way to leave a legacy of giving to your loved ones.
Work With a Professional
Whatever your situation is, getting advice from a Financial Professional can help you donate wisely as the year ends. If charitable giving is an integral part of your financial plan, it is important to make sure you are getting the most value out of each donation. Our Deschutes advisors are all very well-versed in Charitable Giving and the options that exist for each case. For a Free Consultation with one of Deschutes Financial Advisors please email us HERE.
From our team to you and your loved ones, we wish you a joy-filled end of the year and well wishes for the coming New Year!
- The Deschutes Investment Consulting Team
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used to avoid any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.