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News from Washington: An update on donor-advised funds

News from Washington: An update on donor-advised funds

The IRS proposed regulations concerning donor-advised funds, issued in November 2023. Certainly these regulations are just “proposed”; it is unclear whether and to what extent they will become final.

If you routinely read financial publications, you may have seen articles about these proposed regulations and speculation about what they might mean for charitable planning. The Community Foundation team will update all of our fund holders as more information becomes available. Indeed, you may have seen the news that the IRS has scheduled public hearings on the proposed donor-advised fund regulations, set for May 6, 2024, so it’s not likely we’ll hear anything definitive for several months.

In the meantime, you might enjoy reading up on donor-advised funds and the many ways they can help grow philanthropy. The Donor Advised Fund Research Collaborative’s recently-released study of donor-advised funds is full of statistics and insights about the popularity of donor-advised funds and how they help grow philanthropy.

We’ll keep you posted!

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Tax return reviews help clients level up charitable giving plans

Tax return reviews help clients level up charitable giving plans

Tax time has its silver linings! Going over a tax return with a client helps start a productive conversation about ways to plan gifts to charity more effectively. As you scan 2023’s charitable contributions, talk with the client about whether those charitable gifts were made with cash or with other assets and then steer the conversation toward discussing the most effective assets to give to charity during 2024 and beyond.

Here is a four-point checklist that can help you advise your clients about the range of charitable giving options.

Remind clients that cash is not king when it comes to charitable giving. Cash is typically not the most tax-effective form of charitable giving. Instead, encourage clients to consider giving highly-appreciated assets, including publicly-traded stock, to their fund at The Community Foundation to support their favorite charities.

Think even beyond stock. Encourage clients to explore not only highly-appreciated stock as a potential gift to charity, but also the various forms of “noncash” assets that can make great charitable gifts. After all, American households’ most valuable assets are retirement accounts and personal residences, not cash. Examples of assets that could be excellent charitable gifts depending on the client’s circumstances include gifts of real estate, closely-held stock, collectibles, and, for clients who are age 70 ½ and older, direct transfers from an IRA (known as a Qualified Charitable Distribution) to a field-of-interest or unrestricted fund at The Community Foundation.

–Make it easy on yourself and your client. Reach out to the team at The Community Foundation for assistance! We are happy to help you and your client evaluate the best assets to give to a donor-advised or other type of fund at The Community Foundation to achieve the client’s charitable goals.

–Close the loop on IRS reporting. Remember that the reporting requirements are different for noncash gifts to charity versus cash gifts. Make sure you are familiar with IRS Form 8283, which must be filed with any tax return claiming a deduction for noncash assets valued at $500 or more. The IRS expects strict adherence to the terms of the form, especially the requirement for a qualified appraisal. On our end, The Community Foundation will handle the confirmation of receipt and a commitment to document and notify the IRS if disposition occurs within three years.

Opening up the full range of charitable giving options for a client can help you structure a holistic estate and financial plan that meets the client’s objectives for family wealth, philanthropy, and tax effectiveness. Reach out anytime to the team at The Community Foundation to discuss techniques and strategies.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Our door is open: What happens when you meet with the team

Our door is open: What happens when you meet with the team

At The Community Foundation, we are honored to work with generous individuals and families like so many of you who’ve established funds to support the causes you care about and the needs of our community both now and in the future. We’re also inspired by those of you who are getting to know The Community Foundation and considering establishing a donor-advised or other type of fund.

Wherever you are in the stages of your philanthropic planning, the team at The Community Foundation is here for you and considers our relationship to be personal. That’s why we welcome the opportunity to meet with our fund holders and prospective fund holders. Here are a few insights into what those meetings are all about.

You can expect personal, dedicated service. Unlike financial institutions’ donor-advised fund platforms where access to a dedicated donor services team can be rare, the staff at the local Community Foundation is here to help you every step of the way along your charitable giving journey. Our team is happy to meet with you one-on-one, and we are also happy to join a meeting with you and your legal, tax, or financial advisor to assess your current situation and determine the best charitable tax strategy for you. This includes evaluating the best assets to give to your fund or funds at The Community Foundation, including publicly-traded stock and even other noncash assets such as real estate or closely-held stock.

We care about your intentions for your fund. The team at The Community Foundation wants to understand the areas of interest that are a priority for you, whether that’s the arts, health care, social services, the environment, education, community development, or something else. We also want to understand the role you envision for the successor advisors you’ve named in the fund documentation, such as your children, who will make decisions about the fund when you are no longer living or able to manage the fund yourself.

We will help you establish additional funds to meet your goals. Sometimes when the team at The Community Foundation is working with a fund holder to understand the intentions for a donor-advised fund, we discover that it’s worth adding one or more additional funds to complement the donor-advised fund structure already in place. For example, some fund holders decide to also establish a designated fund for a particular nonprofit organization or an unrestricted fund to support The Community Foundation’s mission in perpetuity. Many times, fund holders decide to make recurring contributions over time to multiple funds at The Community Foundation to achieve their various philanthropy goals.

We make the paperwork a breeze. As you know if you’ve already established a donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation, the paperwork is straightforward and not at all cumbersome. As we’re exploring updating your existing donor-advised fund, setting up a new donor-advised fund, or adding additional types of funds to your portfolio, we’ll prepare simple documentation to capture your wishes, collect important contact information, and address your vision for your fund or funds both during and after your lifetime.

We’re always here to strategize about your giving options. As you periodically review your assets and financial situation with your advisors, keep an eye out for appreciated assets that could be ideal to give to your fund or funds at The Community Foundation because of the potential capital gains tax savings. The Community Foundation can work with you and your advisors on contributions of a wide variety of assets to help you achieve your tax and estate planning goals. We are happy to go over the appraisal and documentation requirements for gifts of nonmarketable assets such as closely-held stock and real estate.

Our team is here to help you stay up-to-date and on the various ways you can support the community by working with The Community Foundation and partnering with other fund holders.

Thank you for your commitment to philanthropy! If you’re already a fund holder, we are grateful that you’ve made the choice to organize your giving by working with The Community Foundation. If you’re considering getting started, we look forward to continuing the conversation! In either case, we look forward to seeing you soon!

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Full circle: Grow your philanthropy through recurring gifts

Full circle: Grow your philanthropy through recurring gifts

Developing a practice of regular contributions to your donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation not only allows you to systematically build a philanthropic nest egg for your annual giving to favorite charities, but also paves the way for your future legacy bequests. Whether your cadence of contributions is monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, the consistency delivers many benefits. For instance:
–As your donor-advised fund grows, it allows you to be nimble with your giving and meet the urgent needs of the community as they arise. For the community as a whole, this type of support and stability gives many nonprofit organizations’ leaders the peace of mind and security of knowing that important programs can continue through good times and bad.

–Recurring giving to your donor-advised fund also helps build ultimate capacity to ensure that your principles and dedication to altruistic endeavors endure long beyond your lifetime. Many fund holders at The Community Foundation have included provisions in their donor-advised fund documents to leave all or a portion of the donor-advised fund remaining at their death to an unrestricted or area of interest fund at The Community Foundation.

–Talking about your recurring support through The Community Foundation helps to create a giving culture within your family. Over time, your children and grandchildren will learn that philanthropy is an important family tradition and that charitable giving is a critical source of funding for programs that improve the quality of life for so many people in our region. Your donor-advised fund at The Community Foundation offers ongoing flexibility to fulfill your own charitable goals as well as the goals of the next generation.

The team at The Community Foundation is happy to work with you and your advisors to determine the best way for you to make regular contributions to your fund, especially if your priority is to give highly-appreciated stock to take advantage of the opportunity to avoid income tax on capital gains.

We look forward to talking with you about how recurring donations to your existing donor-advised fund (or a new donor-advised fund if you’re considering it) might be a fit for you and your charitable plans.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Tips for serving clients who love local

Tips for serving clients who love local

 

Your charitably-minded clients certainly have no shortage of options for their philanthropic dollars. Many clients use their donor-advised funds, for example, at The Community Foundation to support favorite charities across the country, including alma maters, organizations in the communities where they’ve lived in the past or have a second home, or charities in communities where their grown children are now living. 

Many clients, though, are also deeply committed to the local community where they’re living now, where they’ve raised their children, and where they’ve built a business. That’s why it’s helpful to remind clients that they can reach out to the team at The Community Foundation when they want to make sure their dollars are making the biggest difference possible, right here in our community. Indeed, local giving satisfies many clients’ commitment to “take care of our own.” The unfortunate steady flow of crises and even disasters, coupled with decreasing state and federal funding to local nonprofits, means that philanthropy is playing an increasingly important role in our region. The Community Foundation, through its wide variety of fund types available to your clients (including endowment funds to support the community in perpetuity), can help your clients achieve their goals for local support, whether that takes the form of disaster recovery, supporting families in need, funding critical workforce development, or paving the way for historic preservation initiatives.

The Community Foundation team is always happy to provide insight into the challenges our community is facing right now and which organizations are delivering services to alleviate those needs so that your clients can provide immediate support through their donor-advised funds.

In addition, an unrestricted fund may be a good fit for clients who want to improve lives, right here in this community, for generations to come, whatever challenges our region may face at any given point in time. An unrestricted fund may be particularly compelling for your clients who are 70 ½ or older. These clients may be eligible to make annual distributions up to $105,000 per spouse from their IRAs directly to an unrestricted fund at The Community Foundation. This transfer is called a “Qualified Charitable Distribution,” or “QCD.” Not only do QCD transfers count toward satisfying Required Minimum Distributions, but your client also avoids the income tax on those funds. Furthermore, those assets are no longer part of the client’s estate upon death, so the client can avoid estate taxes, too. 

Please reach out to the team at The Community Foundation for more information on how your clients can support both current and future local needs, and also meet their own financial, tax, and generational legacy goals.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Psst: Don’t forget about charitable gift annuities

Psst: Don’t forget about charitable gift annuities

 

Certain charitable clients may wish to structure a gift to charity so that the client retains a lifetime income stream. Keep in mind that a charitable gift annuity (“CGA”) could be an attractive option for these clients. Plus, if the client is 70 ½ or older, the client can take advantage of the one-time Legacy IRA opportunity to give $53,000 to a qualified charity such as an unrestricted or field-of-interest fund at The Community Foundation.

A CGA, like any other annuity, is a contract. Your client agrees to make an irrevocable transfer of cash or assets to a charitable organization. In return, the charitable organization agrees to pay the client (or a designated beneficiary such as a spouse) a fixed payment for life. Your client is eligible for an immediate income tax deduction for the present value of the future amount passing to charity. 

The team at The Community Foundation can help you stay up-to-date on the latest CGA rate changes (including the rates that took effect at the beginning of this year). We’ll work with you to evaluate whether and when a CGA is a good planning move for your client. 

 

Use caution when advising clients about donating works of art

Your clients who own highly-appreciated works of art certainly can consider making gifts of this property to a charity. Use caution, though, when helping clients structure gifts of artwork. To be eligible for a charitable deduction at fair market value, the nonprofit recipient’s use of the donated artwork must meet certain qualifications, in that the artwork has to be used for its charitable purpose (think art museums). On top of that, be wary of techniques that recently have come under severe IRS scrutiny and have been determined to circumvent the rules for tax deductions. 

 

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

FAQs: A snapshot of clients’ tax-time charitable giving questions

FAQs: A snapshot of clients’ tax-time charitable giving questions

The year is in full swing. Attorneys, accountants, and financial advisors are asking clients to start gathering tax documents and related paperwork for 2023 tax returns and 2024 planning. Now is a good time for advisors to review a few basic tax principles related to charitable giving. Here are three questions that are top of mind for many advisors, along with answers that can help you serve your clients.

How important is it to high net-worth clients to get a tax deduction for gifts to charity?

Among clients who own investments of $5 million or more, 91% of those surveyed reported that charitable giving is a component of their estate and financial plans. In another study, most affluent investors cited reasons for giving well beyond the possibility of a tax deduction and would not automatically reduce their giving if the charitable income tax deduction went away. What this means for your practice is that it’s important to be aware of your clients’ non-tax motivations for giving, such as family traditions, personal experiences, compassion for particular causes, and involvement with specific charitable organizations. This also means it’s critical to talk about charitable giving with all of your clients because it’s likely that most consider it to be important.

Why do clients so often default to giving cash?

Many clients simply are not aware of the tax benefits of giving highly-appreciated assets to their donor-advised or other type of fund at The Community Foundation or other public charity. Even if they are aware, they forget or are in a hurry and end up writing checks and making donations with their credit cards. It’s really important for advisors to remind clients about the benefits of donating non-cash assets such as highly-appreciated stock, or even complex assets (e.g., closely-held business interests and real estate). When clients give highly-appreciated assets in lieu of cash, they often can reduce–significantly–capital gains tax exposure, and they can calculate the deduction based on the full fair market value of the gifted assets.

What are the basic deductibility rules for gifts to charities?

It’s important to know that the deductibility rules are different for your clients’ gifts to a public charity (such as a fund at The Community Foundation) on one hand, and their gifts to a private foundation on the other hand. Clients’ gifts to public charities are deductible up to 50% of AGI, versus 30% for gifts to private foundations. In addition, gifts to public charities of non-marketable assets such as real estate and closely-held stock typically are deductible at fair market value, while the same assets given to a private foundation are deductible at the client’s cost basis. This difference can be enormous in terms of dollars, so make sure you let your clients know about this if they are planning major gifts to charities.

So what’s the first step? Reach out to the team at The Community Foundation! We really mean it. Make it a habit to mention charitable giving to your clients. From that moment on, whatever the clients’ charitable priorities, consider our team to be your behind-the-scenes back office and support department to handle all of your clients’ charitable giving needs.

 

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

What happens when I leave a bequest to my fund at The Community Foundation?

What happens when I leave a bequest to my fund at The Community Foundation?

Many donors and fund holders at The Community Foundation have updated their estate plans to leave a bequest to their donor-advised or other type of fund.

Some bequests take the form of a “specific bequest,” which means that the fund at The Community Foundation receives a specific amount of money from the donor’s probate estate or trust. For example, for a specific bequest, your advisor might include a provision in your will as follows:

I bequeath $15,000 to The Community Foundation (taxpayer ID number and/or mailing address), a tax exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), to be added to the [Name of Your Fund], a component fund of The Community Foundation, and I direct that this bequest become part of the Fund.

In these situations The Community Foundation will be ready to receive your bequest, typically as soon as the estate is settled.

In other situations, you may want to leave a bequest of a portion of the remainder of your estate after all specific bequests, expenses, and taxes have been paid. These types of bequests are called “residuary” bequests. The language can look something like this:

I leave all the rest and residue of my property, both real and personal, of whatever nature and wherever situated, and assets, including all real and personal property, tangible or intangible, to The Community Foundation (taxpayer ID number and/or mailing address), a tax exempt organization under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3), to be added to the [Name of Your Fund], a component fund of The Community Foundation, and I direct that this bequest become part of the Fund.

Because the amount of a residuary bequest cannot be determined until all of the assets in an estate have been identified and valued, and all expenses and taxes have been paid, the designated charity (in this example, your fund at The Community Foundation) will not receive the full amount of a residuary bequest until the estate is completely settled. Typically, however, the estate’s personal representative or trustee will make what is known as a “partial distribution” to the residuary beneficiary (or beneficiaries as the case may be), as soon as the personal representative has enough information about the assets and liabilities to confidently do so.

When you leave a residuary bequest to your fund at The Community Foundation, our team will be involved at various steps during the administration of your estate until final distribution. For example, The Community Foundation will receive regular communications about the estate related to assets, expenses, taxes, and periodic accountings. The Community Foundation will execute documents, such as receipts, related to distributions and other estate transactions.

The team at The Community Foundation looks forward to working with you and your advisors to establish bequests to fulfill your charitable legacies.

 

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Big or small, every gift matters

Big or small, every gift matters

Simplicity, efficiency, and effectiveness have long been cornerstones of working with The Community Foundation to carry out charitable goals. Time and time again at The Community Foundation, we see how easily donors who’ve established a donor-advised or other type of fund are able to not only fulfill their big-picture charitable goals, but to act quickly to respond to critical needs in the community as they occur..

Indeed, the flexibility of working with The Community Foundation allows you to support the causes you love at a financial level that meets your charitable giving budget. Early in the year, many of our fund holders transfer highly-appreciated stock to their donor-advised fund, for example, at The Community Foundation so that they are prepared to activate their annual giving right away.

At every level of giving, philanthropy is a catalyst for improving quality of life. Indeed, anyone with a willingness to give can be a philanthropist. Whether you’re using your donor-advised fund to give $250 to a college or university, $2500 to a food bank, or $25,000 to an art museum’s endowment, you’re making a difference.

Consider that small donations from a large number of people can make a huge difference. This is especially true for responses to disasters and humanitarian tragedies. On the other end of the spectrum, very large donations to an organization can transform its ability to scale and serve a much greater population.

In so many ways, whether gifts are large or small or somewhere in between, philanthropy creates the margin of excellence that helps communities, families, and individuals thrive. The team at The Community Foundation is here to help you achieve satisfaction and impact with your giving at any level.

 

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice. 

Estate planning: One of the best ways to show you care

Estate planning: One of the best ways to show you care 

Money, mortality, and family relationships. Each of those topics alone can be tough for anyone to address head on, and when you combine them, it’s no wonder so many people put off setting up or updating their estate plans. Establishing a will, trust, and beneficiary designations forces a person to confront decisions about the ultimate division of their assets, and many people think estate planning is more expensive or more of a hassle than it really is.

But, getting your affairs in order–well before you need to due to age or illness–is truly a gift to your heirs. It’s extremely stressful for surviving spouses, children, and other loved ones to be faced with the emotional stress and workload of financial disorganization and uncertainty, on top of dealing with grief. Updating your estate plan also allows you to make arrangements for gifts upon your death to your favorite charities.

Many people choose to support their favorite charities in an estate plan through a beneficiary designation. As you work with your attorney and other advisors, be sure to review the beneficiary designations on your insurance policies and retirement plans. Pay close attention to tax-deferred retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs. Typically, you’ll name your spouse as the primary beneficiary of these accounts to provide income following your death and to comply with legal requirements. But as you and your advisors evaluate whom to name as a secondary beneficiary of these tax-deferred accounts, don’t automatically default to naming your children or your revocable trust. You and your advisors may determine that naming a charity, such as your fund at The Community Foundation, is by far the most tax-efficient, streamlined way to make gifts to your favorite causes upon your death and establish a philanthropic legacy. A bequest like this avoids not only estate tax, but also income tax on the retirement plan distributions.

Please reach out to the team at The Community Foundation as you work with your advisors on your estate plan. We can:

–Review the many tax benefits of naming your fund at The Community Foundation as a beneficiary of your IRA or other tax-deferred retirement account

  • Provide bequest language for your will or trust, properly describing your fund using the correct legal terms
  • Provide language for a beneficiary designation, again properly describing your fund using the correct legal terms
  • Work with you to update the terms of your donor-advised fund so that your wishes are carried out following your death, whether that is naming specific charities to receive distributions or naming your children as successor advisors to your fund

We’ve all heard stories about the sad consequences of someone not having an estate plan, or even having out-of-date beneficiary designations. Estate planning documents, including wills, trusts, and beneficiary designations, often turn out to represent generous acts of clear distribution and conflict avoidance. An estate plan allows you to demonstrate how much you care about the people in your life as well as your charitable passions.

 

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended as legal, accounting, or financial planning advice.