Charitable Gifts

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What Is a Charitable Gift?

A charitable gift is a donation of cash or other property to, or for the interest of a charitable organization. The gift is freely given with the primary intention of benefiting the charity.

Whether given during lifetime or after death, charitable gifts are eligible for a tax deduction, but only if made to a qualified charitable organization. For example, you may have a relative who has fallen on hard times, someone you choose to help with gifts of cash. While you may be motivated by charitable intentions in making these gifts, you cannot deduct them for either income tax or estate tax purposes.

In general, qualified charitable organizations include churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations, colleges and other nonprofit educational organizations, museums, nonprofit hospitals, and public parks and recreation areas. Gifts to these types of organizations qualify for a federal income tax deduction if made during your lifetime or, if made after your death, can be deducted from the value of your estate for federal estate tax purposes.

Why Consider a Charitable Gift?

People give to charities for a variety of reasons. They give:

 Because they have compassion for the less fortunate.  

 From a belief that they owe something back to society. 

 To support a favored institution or cause.

 For the recognition attained by making substantial charitable donations. 

 To benefit from the financial incentives our tax system provides for charitable gifts.

According to the Giving USA Foundation, individual giving accounted for 72% of all contributions to charitable organizations in 2014.

Source:GivingUSAFoundationTM - Giving USA 2015 Highlights


Whatever your reasons for giving, a careful review of the various types of charitable gifts can help make those gifts more meaningful, both to you and to the charities you choose to support.

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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES:   The information presented here is not specific to any individual's personal circumstances.To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice. 

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