Advice can help when making charitable gifts

Submitted by Edward JonesPrint Story | Email Story
Now that it's the holiday season, gifts are probably on your mind – and you might intend for some of those gifts to go to charities. Although your intentions are good, you could be shortchanging both your recipients and yourself with your method of giving. But with some guidance, you can make choices that work well for you and those charitable groups you support.
 
Of course, you could simply give money to these groups. However, by donating other types of assets, can you increase the value of your gift and gain greater tax benefits, too?
 
It's certainly possible, but your ability to gain any tax advantages depends somewhat on whether or not you can itemize deductions on your tax return. Due to legislation passed a few years ago that significantly increased the standard deduction, many people may no longer be itemizing. But if you still itemize, you can generally deduct up to 60% of your adjusted gross income for cash donations to IRS-qualified charities.
 
Another contribution strategy involves donating other assets, such as stocks. You could donate stocks directly to a charitable group, but you might gain more benefits by making an irrevocable contribution to a donor-advised fund (DAF). Again, assuming you can itemize, you can deduct the full fair-market value of the asset, up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income, and your contributions can be invested in mutual funds or similar vehicles. The contributions have the opportunity for growth, and distributions to the charity are tax-free. You can then decide, on your own timetable, which IRS-qualified charitable groups you would like to receive the money. Furthermore, if you donate stocks that have risen in value, you won't incur potential capital gains taxes that you would have when you eventually sold the stocks. These taxes can be considerable, especially if you've held the stocks for a long time. (You'll want to consult with your tax advisor on how charitable gifts can affect your taxes, especially if you're thinking of using a donor-advised fund.)
 
These charitable donation methods are not secrets, and they are available to many people – you don't have to be wealthy to employ them. Yet, here's an interesting statistic:
 
Those who work with a financial advisor on charitable strategies are more than three
times as likely to donate non-cash assets such as stocks than those who contribute to charities but don't work with an advisor, according to an August 2022 survey from financial services firm Edward Jones and Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company. These findings suggest that many more people could be taking advantage of tax-smart charitable giving moves – if only they had some help or guidance.
 
Also, by getting some professional financial assistance, you may find it easier to implement your charitable giving decisions within your overall financial strategy, which is designed to help you meet all your important long-term goals, such as achieving a comfortable retirement.
 
Your instinct to help support charitable groups is a worthy one – and by getting some help, you can turn this impulse into actions that may work to everyone's benefit.
 
Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.
Advice can help when making charitable gifts
 
Now that it's the holiday season, gifts are probably on your mind – and you might intend for some of those gifts to go to charities. Although your intentions are good, you could be shortchanging both your recipients and yourself with your method of giving. But with some guidance, you can make choices that work well for you and those charitable groups you support.
 
Of course, you could simply give money to these groups. However, by donating other types of assets, can you increase the value of your gift and gain greater tax benefits, too?
 
It's certainly possible, but your ability to gain any tax advantages depends somewhat on whether or not you can itemize deductions on your tax return. Due to legislation passed a few years ago that significantly increased the standard deduction, many people may no longer be itemizing. But if you still itemize, you can generally deduct up to 60% of your adjusted gross income for cash donations to IRS-qualified charities.
 
Another contribution strategy involves donating other assets, such as stocks. You could donate stocks directly to a charitable group, but you might gain more benefits by making an irrevocable contribution to a donor-advised fund (DAF). Again, assuming you can itemize, you can deduct the full fair-market value of the asset, up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income, and your contributions can be invested in mutual funds or similar vehicles. The contributions have the opportunity for growth, and distributions to the charity are tax-free. You can then decide, on your own timetable, which IRS-qualified charitable groups you would like to receive the money. Furthermore, if you donate stocks that have risen in value, you won't incur potential capital gains taxes that you would have when you eventually sold the stocks. These taxes can be considerable, especially if you've held the stocks for a long time. (You'll want to consult with your tax advisor on how charitable gifts can affect your taxes, especially if you're thinking of using a donor-advised fund.)
 
These charitable donation methods are not secrets, and they are available to many people – you don't have to be wealthy to employ them. Yet, here's an interesting statistic:
 
Those who work with a financial advisor on charitable strategies are more than three
times as likely to donate non-cash assets such as stocks than those who contribute to charities but don't work with an advisor, according to an August 2022 survey from financial services firm Edward Jones and Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company. These findings suggest that many more people could be taking advantage of tax-smart charitable giving moves – if only they had some help or guidance.
 
Also, by getting some professional financial assistance, you may find it easier to implement your charitable giving decisions within your overall financial strategy, which is designed to help you meet all your important long-term goals, such as achieving a comfortable retirement.
 
Your instinct to help support charitable groups is a worthy one – and by getting some help, you can turn this impulse into actions that may work to everyone's benefit.
 
Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.
 
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor. Courtesy of Rob Adams, 71 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 413-664-9253.. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. For more information, see This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones financial advisor. Courtesy of Rob Adams, 71 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247, 413-664-9253.. Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice. You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation. For more information go to www.edwardjones.com/rob-adams.

 

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Adams COA, Town Seek Funds for Memorial Building Bathrooms

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — The Council on Aging is still waiting to transition its programming from the Visitor Center to the Memorial Building and is looking to the Community Development Department for help. 

The COA has been waiting for additional bathroom facilities to be completed for the facility, but the council and the town have so far been unable to obtain grant or other funding for the work.

 

COA Director Sarah Fontaine said they are working with Community Development to find funds for the bathrooms and other small improvements, including increased entrance accessibility, renovations to the former music room and fixed windows. 

 

"I had voiced my concern. It's a very extensive list, I don't expect that it will all be done before we transition over. The only need is the bathrooms," Fontaine said. 

 

At last week's Board of Selectmen meeting, Community Development Director Eammon Coughlin said he looked into using Community Development Block Grant funds for the project. He said, however, that the Memorial Building is ineligible.

 

"The guidance we received from [the state Department of Housing and Community Development] has basically told us that the building is ineligible for funding because we already received funding in 2018," he said. "There has to be five years between the application for senior-center type projects. So based on that guidance, I don't believe Memorial School is eligible for funding."  

 

Fontaine also mentioned the auditorium in the building, which the town plans to renovate separately as a future capital project. 

 

"It would be nice as a senior center to have the auditorium available for guest lectures and other things like that," she said. 

 

Moving staff to the Memorial Building now while keeping programming at the Visitor Center, Fontaine said, is not an option. She noted that the Hoosac Valley Regional School District had previously expressed interest in using the second floor of the Visitor Center for its office space. 

 

"I was very firm in saying, logistically, it's hard for us to manage things just being upstairs. It's going to be very difficult if we're off site to try and manage programs downstairs," she said. 

 

In other business: 

 

  • The Council on Aging is looking for volunteers to fill vacancies on its advisory board. It filled one of the vacancies on Wednesday, appointing Barbara Ziemba. Ziemba, an active participant in the COA, had already filled out the paperwork needed for her appointment. 

 

"I have attended many COA activities, volunteer, and am a member of the Friends of the Council on Aging and attend meetings. I have been interested in being a member of the Board of Directors for some time. Please consider my appointment to the board," Ziemba wrote, explaining in her paperwork why she was interested in the position.           

 

The group also discussed two other vacancies on the board and potential candidates to fill them. Two members have been unable to attend recent meetings for health reasons. 

 

  • The board voted to approve updated bylaws. The bylaws were revised and written primarily by Board Member Elizabeth Mach. 

 

"I just wanted to make a comment, or rather an appreciation, for Liz for taking this project on," Fontaine said. 

 

The new bylaws have a provision to allow honorary members. Fontaine said there are currently no honorary members. 

 

The board appointed Bruce Shepley as the board's chair to replace Barbara Lagowski, who filled one of the now vacant member seats. 

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