10 tips for year-end giving from The Catholic Foundation

Now is the season we give thanks to God for all he has done for us this past year and throughout our lives. It is also a good time to begin considering how we might give back some of our wealth or assets to him through his church with special, year-end gifts of cash or appreciated assets such as shares of stock.

Here are 10 ways to make the most of your year-end giving:

1. Talk to your advisor.
Every situation is different! Before making any significant gift to charity, consult with your CPA, attorney or other advisor to understand the impact on your taxes and your estate.

2. Consider your income.
Take time to understand your tax situation for the year. Did your unearned income increase? Did you sell any appreciated assets? The answers to these questions may influence how much you want to give by Dec. 31.

3. Review your stocks.
If you’d like to make a year-end charitable gift, consider giving appreciated stock. Selling appreciated stock generally would result in capital-gains tax on the appreciation. If you gift the stock instead, you will not only avoid the capital-gains tax but also may receive a charitable deduction for its market value. Such gifts are deductible up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income, and you can carry any unused deduction forward for up to five additional years.

4. Give early and complete your gift by Dec. 31.
A gift by check is complete when mailed (postmarked) to the charitable recipient, even if the check is not cashed until the following year. Gifts of stock and other property are more complex. Don’t wait until the last minute to make these gifts as it may be too late to make the necessary arrangements.

5. Know the organizations you support.
While there are many worthy causes, only donations to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are tax-deductible. If you give through The Catholic Foundation, we can help you identify organizations that are qualified to receive your gift and will verify their tax-exempt status prior to making a gift on your behalf.

6. Are you receiving more retirement income than you need?
If you are over 70 1/2 years old and receiving income from an IRA, there may be a tax-advantaged way to make these assets work for you and the causes you support. You should check with your tax advisor about the ability to make a tax-free charitable gift directly from your qualifying IRA. The provision allowing such gifts is widely expected to be renewed for gifts made in 2014, allowing you to donate up to $100,000 from your IRA without counting the distribution as income.

7. Explore employer gift-matching programs.
Many companies offer gift-matching programs that can increase – even double – the impact of your gift.

8. Give now – decide later.
If you are planning for a charitable tax deduction in 2014 but are undecided about which nonprofits to support, consider opening a donor-advised fund at The Catholic Foundation. You can claim a deduction for contributions to your fund now even though distributions from the fund might be made in future years. A donor-advised fund can be established in one quick and easy meeting.

9. Create a giving plan.
The Catholic Foundation can help you create a giving plan to help you think strategically about how you give and to what organizations. This can help ensure that your donations make the greatest impact on the causes you care about while maximizing tax advantages.

10. Let The Catholic Foundation do the legwork.
Working with a philanthropic advisor at The Catholic Foundation gives you access to our extensive knowledge of the broad charitable needs of our archdiocese and the organizations working to meet these needs – so you can stay informed about the organizations you support and the effect your giving will have on the future of our archdiocese.

For more information, contact Josephine Everly at 596-3031 or Bob Menard at 596-3043.

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