Charitable Deductions Strategies
The deduction for charitable contributions is normally an itemized deduction. The standard deductions for every filing status are significantly higher under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. And since there are new limits on some itemized deductions — e.g., the deduction for state and local taxes — and others have been outright eliminated, many taxpayers are less likely to benefit from itemizing. Here are several strategies that could help taxpayers get better tax mileage from their donations.
Timing Donations With a Donor-Advised Fund
With a donor-advised fund, you make a contribution (or series of contributions) to the fund and recommend how you would like your gifts to be disbursed. Contributions to a donor-advised fund are generally tax deductible in the year they are made. By funding a donor-advised fund in a year you expect to itemize your deductions could provide a tax advantage. If desired, you could then put those dollars to use over several years by supporting your favorite charities through your donor-advised fund. You can itemize in years in which you make the contribution to a donor-advised and take advantage of the high standard deductions in the years in which you don’t contribute.
Donating Appreciated Securities
Many donor-advised funds and other public charities accept contributions of publicly traded stock or other securities. A donation of highly appreciated securities held more than one year provides a potential tax deduction for the securities’ fair market value while also avoiding the capital gains tax that would be due if the securities were sold. Note that itemized deductions for contributions of appreciated securities are generally limited to 30% of AGI.
Making Qualified Charitable Distributions After Age 70½
A qualified charitable distribution (QCD), also known as an IRA charitable rollover, allows you to donate to qualified charities directly from your individual retirement account (IRA). While there is no tax deduction allowed for the donated assets, they don’t count as income either. What’s more, a QCD can help satisfy your annual required minimum distribution (RMD).
To make a QCD you must be at least 70½ years of age. Gifts must be made directly from your traditional or Roth IRA to a public charity. (Contributions to donor-advised funds are not eligible.) Up to $100,000 may be transferred annually per spouse.
New for 2021! Charitable Deduction for individuals who don’t itemize
The law now permits individuals who don’t itemize to claim a limited deduction on their 2021 federal income tax returns for cash contributions. These individuals can claim a deduction of up to $600 for cash contributions make to charities in 2021. Cash contributions include those made by check, credit card or debit card as well as amounts incurred by an individual for unreimbursed out-of-pocket expenses in connection with the individual’s volunteer services.
Each individual’s tax situation is different. Please consult with a tax professional at Urbach & Avraham, CPAs to help you analyze the impact on your personal situation.