During a routine check-in meeting, your client casually mentions that the client’s employer, a local company, was just acquired. The client and dozens of fellow employee shareholders are now flush with cash. “I’d like to use some of the money to give to charity,” the client tells you. “Let’s talk about a family fund at the FM Area Foundation.”
You try not to flinch as you mentally calculate the capital gains taxes your client could have avoided if the client had given some of those shares to a fund at the FM Area Foundation years ago when the company was clearly growing fast, making it a natural target for acquisition or IPO, but well before an exit was in the works.
All is not lost. You can still help the client establish a donor-advised, field-of-interest, unrestricted, or other type of fund at the FM Area Foundation to fulfill the client’s charitable intentions. The client’s gifts to the fund qualify for a charitable tax deduction in the current tax year, helping to offset the income from the sale of the shares.
Still, this situation is all too common and a good reason to regularly remind clients about their options for making gifts to charity and the tax benefits of each.
Giving cash to a public charity, which is what your client in this situation will be doing (!), is always a viable option. The general rule is that your client can deduct cash gifts to up to 60% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any given year. While this may not completely offset large gains from the sale of the stock, it will help to reduce the client’s taxable income.
Giving appreciated stock, which is what you wish your client had done, is a very tax-effective method of supporting public charities. Clients who donate stock outright avoid all capital gains tax that would be levied on a sale of the stock if it were sold prior to making the donation. Even with the 30 percent of AGI limitation imposed on gifts of highly-appreciated, long-term capital gains property to a public charity, your client likely will still come out ahead because the client’s AGI is presumably a lot lower than it will be in the year of a future stock sale.
moderate household incomes can be especially vulnerable to high inflation. The team at the FM Area Foundation can help your clients zero in on nonprofits in our community that are serving the people who need the most help right now.
“Don’t forget about the Qualified Charitable Distribution.”
We mention this tool a lot because it is such a financially-savvy way for your clients to support the charities they care about. If your client has reached the age of 70 1/2, the client may be eligible to make annual distributions of up to $100,000 per spouse from IRAs directly to an unrestricted or field-of-interest fund at the community foundation or other qualifying public charity. QCD transfers count toward satisfying clients’ Required Minimum Distributions and avoid the income tax on those funds. Plus, those assets are no longer part of a client’s estate at death, which avoids estate taxes, too. What’s more, the QCD may get a boost if the EARN Act becomes law; proposed bipartisan legislation would expand the QCD rules to allow a one-time, $50,000 QCD to a split-interest trust such as a charitable remainder trust.