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Giving Season Has Arrived! Here's 5 Ways to Maximize Your Year-End Giving Strategy

It's that time of year! The holiday season is a popular time for donating to charity. With all the changes in the income tax laws, you may be wondering if you’re best prepared for the upcoming giving season?

If you’re not sure how your finances match up with your upcoming year-end giving strategy, now is the time to prepare yourself by making your lists and checking them twice. Here are five tips below to maximize your charitable giving strategy in 2019

1. Do Your Research

By using sites such as Guidestar or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, you can learn more about the groups you’re interested in offering donations to. 

The organization you’re involved with should also be able to provide registration information including 501(c)(3). You may also use the tax-exempt organization search tool available on the IRS website to obtain specific information as well. 

2. Bundle Your Donations

As the standard deduction has increased over the years, you may choose to save money over time and donate every few years as opposed to each year, consecutively. By doing this, you may receive your itemized deductions over the limit one year and take the standard deduction the next. 

If you’re interested in accomplishing this, you might consider a donor-advised fund, which allows you to make a charitable donation and immediately receive a tax break. You’ll then receive recommended grants from the fund to your preferred charities over time. Consider my latest blog post on gifting appreciated stock to a Donor Advised Fund: Lower your income taxes by using a Donor Advised Fund for Charitable Contributions.

3. Donate Appreciated Stock

By donating stocks or other appreciated assets, such as artwork or antiques, you might reduce capital gains tax on investments.1 

In particular, high-income earners might consider a non-cash donation specifically because of the tax advantages they may be awarded. Even those who have what they might consider to be small holdings could benefit by making a donation of appreciated investments this holiday season. Again Donor Advised Funds can help here. 

4. Utilize Your IRA

If you’re a retiree over the age of 70, you might consider transferring money from your IRA to a qualifying charity. (This goes for inherited IRAs as well if you are over 70 1/2). These distributions can be a tax-efficient way of meeting any required minimum distribution. Additionally, there’s no need to itemize your deductions in order to benefit.  

According to the National Association of Enrolled Agents, you may distribute up to $100,000 per year per taxpayer. This increases to an acceptable $200,000 for married couples if they both have IRAs.2 Although this strategy has existed for some time, it only recently became a part of the permanent tax code. 

5. Monitor and Evaluate Your Portfolio 

No matter the size of your seasonal contributions, it’s always important to keep up with your portfolio in order to give properly and confidently. Staying up to date on newsletters, annual reports and CEO updates can be an important factor when it comes to understanding the operations of various organizations. 

It’s important to set personal reminders, at least annually, to re-evaluate your financial and personal priorities and update them if need be. Your interests and priorities are bound to change over time and so will the causes you choose to support. Being aware of these fluctuations is key and maintaining a thoughtful attitude is what makes the holidays meaningful.  

  1. https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/guidance/charitable-tax-strategies/charitable-contributions.html
  2. https://www.cof.org/content/analysis-ira-charitable-rollover-extension

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual 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.

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