To Clients and Friends:
As year end approaches, you may feel generously inclined to make gifts to loved ones and charities. Here are some ideas to consider.
• Make Year-end Gifts of Appreciated Securities to Relatives in Low Tax Brackets. Your gift recipient can potentially qualify for a 0% federal income tax rate when the appreciated securities are sold.
• Make Year-end Gifts to Directly Cover Tuition Costs or Medical Bills. Amounts paid directly to educational institutions (including private K–12 schools) for tuition and fees and to medical service providers don’t reduce your federal gift and estate tax exemption, but they do reduce your exposure to the federal estate tax.
• Make Year-end Gifts to Fund Section 529 College Savings Accounts or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts. Amounts paid to fund accounts for children or grandchildren reduce your exposure to the federal estate tax. A special rule allows extra-favorable treatment for relatively large lump-sum contributions to a Section 529 account.
• Make IRA Contributions for Children or Grandchildren. If you have minor children or grandchildren with some earned income for the year, you can fund a contribution to a Roth IRA or traditional IRA set up in their name. Your generosity will reduce your exposure to the federal estate tax.
• Accelerate Deductible Charitable Donations. If the Trump tax plan is enacted and takes effect next year, you may face a lower marginal tax rate in 2017, which could cause deductible charitable donations made this year to be worth more than those made next year.
• Make Year-end Charitable Contributions of Winner Securities. Charitable contributions of long-term capital gain assets (such as appreciated stock or mutual fund shares that you’ve owned for more than one year) generally give you a charitable write-off equal to the full current market value of the asset, and you avoid of any federal capital gains tax on the appreciation. On the other hand, you should not contribute loser securities (those currently worth less than you paid for them). Instead, sell the losers, claim the resulting tax-saving capital loss on your return, and contribute the cash from the sales proceeds.
• Make Charitable Donations from IRAs. If you own one or more IRAs and have reached age 70½, you can make cash donations totaling up to $100,000 to IRS-approved public charities directly out of your IRA(s). Making donations in this fashion will reduce your exposure to the federal estate tax.
Year-end is a great time for making gifts to loved ones and charities. Contact us if you have questions or want help in identifying the best tax-smart giving strategies for your situation.
Steven Wiebler, CPA
On 12/20/17, both the House and Senate passed H.R. 1—commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA).