Garry Oak acorns on Red Mill Farm

The San Juan Preservation Trust cannot give you tax advice, but we can provide some general facts about charitable giving since the 2017 tax laws took effect this year.

New Standard Deduction: A single taxpayer may claim a standard deduction of $12,000, and a couple may claim $24,000. Many more people will take a standard deduction this year; fewer will be itemizing expenses and charitable contributions.

BUT… there are still tax-advantageous ways to give:

Give appreciated securities: You can transfer securities you have held for one year or longer and avoid capital gain taxes and make a gift larger than your original cost basis. Read more about donating appreciated securities.

Give through your IRA: if you are 70-½ or older and have a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) that you do not need for living expenses, you may wish to transfer that distribution directly to the qualified charitable organization(s) of your choice—the San Juan Preservation Trust, for example. In doing so, you avoid the income tax you would pay on your RMD. Read more about giving through your IRA.

Consider “bunching” multiple years of charitable donations: Some donors are “bunching” together two or more years of intended charitable gifts into one year, so that the total for that year exceeds the standard deduction.

Example: A married couple might not get a tax deduction for making charitable contributions of $15,000 in a single year, but “bunching” contributions totaling $30,000 every other year could qualify for a deduction.

The donor may give the “bunched” donations directly to the charitable organizations of their choice, or use the funds to establish a donor advised fund (DAF), from which they may distribute gifts when they wish, from year to year. In either case, the donor may be able to receive a charitable tax deduction if the amount of their “bunched” gifts exceeds the standard deduction.

Ask your tax advisor if any of these strategies make sense for you.