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Maximizing Tax-Deductible Contributions: Strategies and Tips

Law Office of Jonathan D. Alexander, Esq.

Charitable giving can be a fulfilling way to support causes you care about while also providing potential tax benefits. Understanding how to maximize these benefits is essential. Let’s dive into some strategies and tips for making tax-deductible contributions.

Understanding Tax-Deductible Contributions

When making charitable contributions, consider the amount of your income for the year and your tax rate. For instance, if you are in the 35% tax bracket, your deductions can significantly impact your tax savings. However, there are limits to how much you can deduct based on your income. Typically, you can deduct up to 60% of your income in cash contributions to charity. For those considering larger contributions, consulting with a tax advisor is crucial to ensure you maximize your deductions.

Donating Stock vs. Cash

One effective strategy for charitable giving is donating appreciated, publicly traded stock instead of cash. The advantage is that you can deduct the fair market value of the stock without having to pay capital gains tax. For example, if you bought a stock for $10 and it’s now worth $100, you can donate the stock and claim a $100 deduction, avoiding $90 in capital gains tax. Charities benefit equally from receiving stock or cash, as they can sell the stock without incurring tax.

Donation Bunching

“Bunching” is a strategy where you combine multiple years of charitable contributions into one year to exceed the standard deduction threshold. For instance, if you usually donate $5,000 annually, you might bunch several years’ worth of donations into one year to maximize your itemized deductions. This can be particularly useful in optimizing your tax savings from year to year.

Utilizing a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF)

A Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) is a convenient way to manage your charitable giving. You can contribute to a DAF, receive an immediate tax deduction, and then recommend grants to your favorite charities over time. For example, if your accountant advises a $50,000 donation for tax purposes, but you’re unsure where to allocate it immediately, you can fund a DAF and decide on the beneficiaries later. DAFs typically honor the recommendations of their account holders, making them a flexible and tax-efficient giving tool.

Charitable Contributions from an IRA

Individuals aged 70½ or older can make qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) directly from their IRAs, up to $100,000 annually. This method allows you to fulfill your required minimum distribution (RMD) without the distribution being included in your taxable income. It’s a tax-efficient way to donate, benefiting both you and the charity.

End-of-Year Donations for Tax Purposes

To ensure your charitable contributions are deductible for the current year, they must be made by December 31. This deadline is crucial for planning your tax strategies effectively.

Take Action Now

Charitable giving offers significant benefits, both for the causes you support and for your financial planning. If you have questions or need assistance with your estate planning or charitable giving strategies, contact me, Jonathan Alexander, your dedicated estate planning attorney. I’m here to help you navigate these options and maximize your tax benefits. Schedule a consultation today by calling my office at (949) 334-7823 to ensure your contributions work best for you and your beneficiaries.

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