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Giving Season Has Arrived! Here are 4 Ways to Maximize Your Year-End Giving Strategy

Wondering if you’re best prepared for the upcoming giving season?

Before you know it, the holidays will be here and in order to minimize stress and maximize your gifting abilities, it’s important to keep in mind a few details that you may or may not be aware of. 

If you’re not sure how your finances match up with your upcoming year-end giving strategy, now is the time to prepare yourself by making your lists and checking them twice. Organization is key in order to properly give this holiday season. Follow the four tips below to maximize your charitable giving strategy in 2019

1. Do Your Research

By using sites such as Guidestar or the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, you can learn more about the groups you’re interested in offering donations to. 

The organization you’re involved with should also be able to provide registration information including 501(c)(3). You may also use the tax-exempt organization search tool available on the IRS website to obtain specific information as well. 

2. Bunch Your Donations

As deductions have increased over the years, you may choose to save money over time and donate every few years as opposed to each year, consecutively. By doing this, you may receive your itemized deductions over the limit one year and take the standard deduction the next. 

If you’re interested in accomplishing this, you might consider a donor-advised fund, which allows you to make a charitable donation and immediately receive a tax break. You’ll then receive recommended grants from the fund to your preferred charities over time. 

3. Donate Appreciated Stock

By donating stocks or other appreciated assets, such as artwork or antiques, you might reduce capital gains tax on investments. 

In particular, high-income earners might consider a non-cash donation specifically because of the tax advantages they may be awarded. Even those who have what they might consider to be small holdings could benefit by making a donation of appreciated investments this holiday season.  

4. Utilize Your IRA

If you’re a retiree over the age of 70 1/2 you might consider transferring money from your IRA to a qualifying charity using a Qualified Charitable Distribution or QCD.  These distributions can be a tax-efficient way of meeting any required minimum distribution. Additionally, there’s no need to itemize your deductions in order to benefit.   Your custodian can assist you with this.  Be sure to let your tax preparer know as this is still reported on your 1099. 

Consult your CPA, tax preparer, or financial advisor for how these techniques apply to your situation.