Don’t look now, but 2012 is almost over, and it is now time to start thinking about year-end tax planning. The old saying is true, you can’t take it with you, and if you give it away, Uncle Sam lets you deduct the gift from your income. If you want to wait until after you pass away to make that gift, no problem, the value of the gift can be deducted from your estate. Moreover, you can structure the gift so that you receive a current income tax deduction AND a deduction from your estate AND maintain an income stream from the property that you gave away (more on that in future postings). For those out there that are charitably inclined, here are some methods for making gifts to your organization of choice that you can make right now:
- Direct gifts of cash
- Gifts of stocks and bonds and real estate (by making a gift of appreciated securities and/or real estate, you can avoid capital gains tax)
- Life Insurance (make the charitable organization your beneficiary)
- Retirement Funds (name the charity as a beneficiary)
Keep in mind, to get the deduction, the organization must have an exemption letter from the IRS stating that it is tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Some organizations may sound charitable in their mission statement, but if they do not have that letter, you don’t get the charitable deduction.