Talk to your advisor.
Before making any significant gift to charity, you should have your CPA, attorney, or other advisor help you to understand the impact of your gift on your income tax return and estate.
Consider your income.
Take the time to do some planning while you still have the opportunity to make a year-end gift. Try to get a handle on your tax liability for the year. Did your unearned income increase? Did you sell any appreciated assets? Will you owe more taxes? If you take the time now to assess these important issues, it may motivate you to increase your giving before December 31.
Review your stocks.
Look at the stocks you have held for more than one year. Which ones have appreciated the most? If you're inclined to make a charitable gift anyway, it may be prudent for you to make your year-end gift using one of more of these stocks.
Do your giving early and complete your gift before the end of the year.
A gift by check is complete when mailed (postmarked) to the charitable recipient, even if it isn't cashed until the following year. Gifts by credit card are complete when your credit card account is charged, allowing you to make a gift before year-end, but pay for it in January.
Know the meaning of "deductible."
Remember that only donations to qualified 501(c)(3) organizations are deductible. There are many worthy causes out there that do not qualify for a charitable contribution deduction.
Do you have more than enough?
If you're receiving taxable income from retirement plan assets or life insurance policies, there are a number of tax-advantaged ways to make these assets work for you and the causes you support. The Charitable IRA Rollover Act, for example, allows donors age 70 ½ or older to donate up to $100,000 from their IRA without counting the distribution as income.
Explore employer gift matching programs.
Many companies have gift matching programs that can help you leverage your generous gift into a gift of up to twice the original amount of your donation.
Be a proactive giver.
Instead of responding to direct solicitations, donors can make a significant difference to their charities of choice by being more organized givers. Giving vehicles such as those available through The Community Foundation provide simple ways to turn reactive contributions into effective giving over time, while maximizing tax advantages.
Give now-decide later.
If you are planning for a charitable tax deduction this year but are undecided about which nonprofits to support, consider opening a donor-advised fund at the Community Foundation. You can claim a deduction for contributions to your fund now even though distributions from the fund might be made in future years. A donor-advised fund can be set up in one meeting.
Let the Community Foundation do the legwork.
Working with a philanthropic advisor at the Community Foundation gives you access to our extensive knowledge of the local nonprofit community and the broad charitable needs of our region-so you can stay informed about the organizations you support and the effect your giving will have on the future of our community.