Advertisement
taxes

3 Smart Ways to Give to Charity Under New Tax Law

Starting in 2018, the tax deduction that giving to charity provides may be no longer be available to many people. That is, unless they change the way they give. Here are three strategies to help keep the deduction many count on.

The 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act makes significant changes to the tax code that will impact many taxpayers. While the tax act’s main beneficiaries are corporations (a single 21% corporate tax rate now applies), individuals may also benefit from lower rates and a higher standard deduction.

Perhaps the single biggest change for individuals is a $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions. Taxpayers in states with high income taxes and high real estate property taxes — like New York, New Jersey and California — will be most affected. The Tax Policy Center estimates this change will reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize from 37 million to about 16 million. Capping the SALT deduction may have a ripple effect for some taxpayers — meaning their previously itemized deductions (including charitable deductions) won’t exceed the new standard deduction.

Advertisement - Article continues below

For taxpayers who have a history of making charitable contributions, making sure those contributions have maximum tax benefit may require some additional planning. Let’s review some strategies that could help minimize your tax bill while also helping to do good.

A Chunky Way to Give to Charity

The first strategy involves “chunking” two years of charitable deductions into one tax year. By making charitable contributions in January and December of the same year (think of the December contribution as paying one month in advance), taxpayers may be able to claim itemized deductions in the year of their charitable gifting and take a standard deduction in the alternate year. This need not change one’s gifting level, merely the timing.

Another Helpful Way to Give: Donor Advised Funds

A slightly different method to take advantage of the “chunking” strategy is to again make multiple-year charitable gifts in one tax year, but this time via a donor advised fund (DAF). Contributors to DAFs receive a tax deduction in the year of contribution, while retaining control over the timing of the distribution to the charity of their choice. To illustrate, John & Mary Smith gift $25,000 of appreciated stock to a donor advised fund with their area community foundation in 2018 and deduct this charitable contribution on their 2018 tax return. John & Mary can make distributions from their DAF to support various charities of their choice, perhaps over the next several years.

Finally, You Can Tap Your IRA

Finally, another strategy only available for taxpayers over age 70½ and involves making a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) directly from one’s IRA. A QCD counts towards one’s required minimum distribution (RMD) but is not included in taxable income on the tax return. This strategy results in the taxpayer getting the benefit of the charitable contribution (through lower income) irrespective of whether they itemize deductions.

As with any tax strategy, one needs to consult a tax professional on whether certain strategies apply to their specific circumstance. The good news is with advance planning you can make the new tax law work to your benefit.

Advertisement

About the Author

Mike Palmer, CFP

Managing Principal, Ark Royal Wealth Management

Mike Palmer has over 25 years of experience helping successful people make smart decisions about money. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Mr. Palmer is a member of several professional organizations, including the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) and past member of the TIAA-CREF Board of Advisors.

Advertisement

Most Popular

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About
dividend stocks

11 Dividend-Paying Stocks You Should Think Twice About

Dividend-paying stocks often can be a store of safety, but 2020 has been difficult on income equities. These 11 picks look like shaky plays despite th…
September 21, 2020
How To Buy a Roth IRA When You Make Too Much To Qualify For One
Roth IRAs

How To Buy a Roth IRA When You Make Too Much To Qualify For One

With their tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals, Roth IRAs are a great deal — if you qualify. If you don’t, well, there’s still a way to get into …
September 23, 2020
High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place
Caregiving

High-Tech Aids for Aging in Place

Apple Watch and other technology provides fast feedback, comfort for older users, and a powerful assist for caregivers.
September 23, 2020

Recommended

Check Your Financial Adviser Now (and Every Year) or Regret It Later
wealth management

Check Your Financial Adviser Now (and Every Year) or Regret It Later

Fewer than 10% of investors use such free background checks as Investor.gov, BrokerCheck or IAPD to check their financial advisers’ backgrounds. These…
September 21, 2020
The Annuity With a Tax-Planning Twist
Financial Planning

The Annuity With a Tax-Planning Twist

A qualified life annuity contract helps retirees with guaranteed payments to last their entire lives.
September 21, 2020
Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans
taxes

Election 2020: Joe Biden's Tax Plans

With the economy in trouble, tax policy takes on added importance in the 2020 presidential election. So, let's take a look at what Joe Biden has said …
September 18, 2020
Most-Overlooked Tax Breaks for the Newly Divorced
tax deductions

Most-Overlooked Tax Breaks for the Newly Divorced

Filing taxes after a divorce can add yet another problem to an already long list of challenges. But here are some tips to make your return to single l…
September 18, 2020