Post: Your Guide to 2019 Charitable Giving

New Year Countdown

Your Guide to 2019 Charitable Giving

by Christopher L. Kelly, Esq.

It’s hard to believe that 2019 (and this decade) is almost over! Before we flip the calendar to 2020, now is a great time to review a few charitable giving ideas to see if any of these might make sense for you to implement before 2019 comes to a close, especially as you think of ways to support your church or other Baptist cause.  

Make a Regular Donation.

  • The easiest way to make a gift is to simply write a check or donate online (if your church has this capability). If your check is postmarked by December 31 or if your online donation is processed by December 31 (note that the time of day may be important), you may be able to take a charitable deduction for the gift, depending on your particular tax situation.

Batching Contributions

  • With the 2017 tax bill, Congress raised the standard deduction for individuals ($12,200) and couples ($24,400). Overall, this is great for taxpayers, but it does make it a bit harder to take advantage of deducting charitable contributions if your overall deductions do not exceed the standard deduction.
  • One strategy around this issue is to “batch” your charitable contributions, meaning that you combine this year’s gifts with what you anticipate giving next year and make both contributions in 2019. You’re basically loading up two years of gifts in one tax year. Thus, you have a higher charitable amount to apply towards your deductions in 2019, which may result in a better result than simply taking the standard deduction.  

Give Gifts of Appreciated Assets.

  • With the improved financial markets, many people now find themselves holding stocks, bonds, mutual funds or real estate that has significantly increased in value. Selling these assets may create substantial capital gains for the owner.
  • However, rather than increasing your tax burden, you can donate the appreciated asset to your favorite Baptist cause. You get a deduction for the full market value of the asset, and the charity recognizes no gains when it sells the asset. Win-win! 

Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)/Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD)

  • If you still have not taken your 2019 RMD, you can have it paid to your church or other Baptist cause. Please note that not all charities are eligible to receive a QCD, so check with them before you make it. 

Remember, when the ball drops on December 31, you will lose the ability to take advantage of these strategies for 2019. If any of these ideas interest you, begin the process now to make sure you allow plenty of time for the process to be completed by year-end. 

From the Tennessee Baptist Foundation, we wish you the happiest of Christmas seasons as we celebrate Immanuel!

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Please note that the advice offered in this article is not intended to be construed as tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice for the reader. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.