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08 Dec

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Smart Charitable Giving with a Donor Advised Fund

December 8, 2016 | By | No Comments

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With Christmas just around the corner, our hearts go out to those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s the time of year that provides an opportunity for us to take action on these sentiments, through charitable giving.

Beyond the inevitable tax deduction affiliated with this form of generosity, we’ve found there to be additional benefits – both tax and philanthropic related. Whether it’s the tax credit benefits related to donations to the Oregon Cultural Trust, Gifts of appreciated assets to a charitable remainder trust, or the use of a donor advised fund, charitable giving can be a great way to benefit others and simultaneously reduce your tax burden.

Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are underutilized planning tools that serve a multitude of needs. Think of a DAF as your own private foundation or a charitable giving savings account. It is a giving account managed by a public charity. The donor makes a tax-deductible contribution to the DAF, and then can direct the investment management and the distribution of the funds.

A DAF offers tax-efficient charitable giving:

  • One donation can later be distributed to multiple charities
  • Most donor advised funds provide on-line accounts with the ability to establish recurring donations to your favorite charities
  • A variety of assets can be gifted into the DAF including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, real estate, and even the stock of closely held entities
  • As long as the donated asset has been held for longer than one year, the contribution is tax deductible based upon the fair market value of the asset donated
  • The donor avoids the capital gains tax that would have been realized if the donated assets had been sold
  • Funds retained inside the DAF are invested and earnings are tax free
  • Funds can be retained in the DAF for a number of years, allowing for a large gift in one tax year and donations to charities for years to come
  • Putting DAF Into Practice

    Let’s say you have some Apple stock that has appreciated significantly. Rather than sell the stock and lose a significant portion to taxes, you donate the stock to a DAF. You receive a charitable donation for the full value of the stock on the date of the donation.

    If you are in the top tax bracket, this could save you as much as fifty cents on the dollar in taxes. The charity sells the stock and pays no income tax on the gain since they are a qualified not-for-profit organization. You now have a “giving account” in the amount of the stock sales proceeds. You can give it away immediately or over time by selecting charities and “advising” the DAF which charities to support.

    With the potential for significantly lower tax rates in upcoming years, and the possible limitation of itemized deductions, front loading your future charitable giving into a DAF during 2016 may result in significant savings.

    Don’t let the year-end giving season pass you by without learning more about the tax implications of charitable giving.

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    Delap LLP is one of Portland’s largest local tax, assurance, wealth advisory, and consulting accounting firms, located in Lake Oswego, Oregon.