Year End Giving
Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. It’s time to check our records on how we have been fulfilling our pledges to Christ and Grace through the year and to consider making an additional gift before the end of the year.
You may not know that cash or checks are no longer the only way you can offer your financial support. You can make many different types of gifts; you can become more generous and possibly benefit yourself as well.
Here are some ideas and important points to remember about different ways to support Christ and Grace. As always when making decisions about your finances, be sure to consult your tax advisor.
When you and other members move into new life stages, like retirement, the congregation often benefits from your and their greater availability for volunteering and giving. One of the easiest gifts to make is a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from Traditional IRAs. When you reach 70 1/2 years of age, you must take Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) from many tax-deferred retirement accounts. Those of you who have Traditional IRAs (QCDs don’t apply to other types) are able to make a direct gift to the parish and have it count toward your RMD, up to $100,000. Making the gift directly to charity avoids your having to pay taxes on that additional income which you are now forced to take. Because this is non-taxed income, the giver does not receive a tax deduction.
Even with all of the recent volatility in the stock market, you might be holding appreciated securities which you could give before the end of the year, receiving a substantial tax deduction plus avoiding paying capital gains on the asset’s appreciation. At your age, you might have highly appreciated marketable securities on which you would owe capital gains taxes if you sold them to make a cash gift. Christ and Grace can accept those securities directly as a gift, and that will benefit both you and the parish. Gifts of appreciated marketable securities from donors could go toward pledges or other special gifts.
To make these contributions, your financial advisor should contact the church office during normal business hours.
Without getting into all of the details, the recent tax law changes will cause fewer people to itemize their tax deductions. Through 2017, about a third of Americans itemized deductions. Now that the standard deduction has increased, that number has decreased. The good news is, due to the long history of support of religion in the US, few people expect this change to reduce giving substantially to churches, but the change may encourage some people to ”batch” or ”bunch” multiple years of giving into a single year when they do choose to itemize. This is an option you have, if this is the right year for you to do it.
A related change which is already taking place is that more people will create Donor-Advised Funds (DAF) for their charitable giving. DAFs are like a charitable check-book, where people make a current tax-deductible gift to a sponsoring charity and then advise that sponsor to make future grants to the charities of their choice. The use of DAFs will likely continue to grow due to the changes in the tax law which may encourage some people to itemize deductions and ‘bunch’ their giving only in selected years.
If you already have a DAF, you can make a grant to Christ and Grace before year end, as long as you do not "pay off" any obligatory pledges. You should know that there is no additional tax deduction for the donor when the grant is made. If you have a DAF you can also set up recurring weekly or monthly grants for more regular giving.
PLEDGING FOR NEXT YEAR
Lastly, we are still collecting pledge cards for regular offering and will be happy to continue accepting them as the Vestry plans the budget for the congregation for 2020. Thank you for making that commitment and for the many ways you are committed to Christ and Grace throughout the year.
“Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 (NRSV)