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The Advise Us Foundation blogs about donor-advised funds and other planned strategies and techniques including charitable remainder trusts and charitable lead trusts. We offer this charitable giving information as a resource for donors, professionals, and charities that provide and plan gifts to non-profit organizations.

The 5.42* Reasons Why Financial Advisors Need the Universal Charitable Deduction

Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina has proposed the Universal Charitable Deduction which would allow non-itemizers to deduct their gifts in addition to taking the standard deduction.  The bill caps the deduction at one-third of the standard deduction. The charitable community likes the universal concept, but many are wondering if the cap is needed as it can impact gifts from donors who don’t use the itemized deduction.

Financial advisors often speak with their clients about charitable giving and, currently, many of those clients itemize their deductions.  However, if as proposed in the “Big Six” in the Senate’s 9-page plan, the standard deduction would double and the itemized deduction for state and local taxes would not.  If tax reform results in changes that affect the standard deduction, here are the reasons why financial advisors should support the Universal Charitable Deduction:

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For — The Universal Charitable Deduction

I’ve found myself engaged in a good deal of conversations about the charitable deduction in 2017, but I still haven’t found what I am looking for. (Just in case you care, the version of the U2 classic song that I prefer is this one (with Bruce Springsteen).

Today, I spent a second day of 2017 on Capitol Hill.  The National Association of Charitable Gift Planners gathered 800 professionals in Baltimore for its national conference this week.  Fifty of us met with 62 Senator and Representative’s offices.  In fact, we met with staff from 10 of the 26 Members of the Senate Finance Committee. 

Tzedakah, Sadaka, Dāna, Charity: Traditions in Giving

Over the past 10 days Jews around the world, myself included, observed the High Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. During these days, I along with countless others, turned our thoughts towards Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and Tzedakah (charity). Between the trio of powerful hurricanes that ripped through the Caribbean and the southeastern United States, powerful earthquakes devastating neighboring Mexico, and the ongoing struggles of poverty, poaching, and refugees in central Africa, there is no shortage of need around the world. As I reflected on my own faith traditions of helping those in need, I was prompted to think about what other faith traditions say about charitable giving, especially during their highest holy days.

Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving

In our ongoing effort to help make planned giving more accessible, collaborative and beneficial for charities, we hosted a workshop led by fundraising expert Laura Kaufman. The fourth in our series of free seminars and workshops, Engaging Your Donors for Life-Long Giving, invited Chicago-area nonprofits to learn about strategies and tactics for engaging donors over a long time horizon.

On Capital Hill: Talking About the Fate of the Charitable Deduction

On May 30, 1985, I skipped high school. No, it was not senior skip day, nor did I really desire a break from school. I wanted to travel from Appleton to Oshkosh to see President Reagan speak. He had just introduced his plan on what would eventually become the Tax Reform Act of 1986 and first went to Wisconsin to sell it to the American people. Contrary to my parents wishes, I did hear the speech in person and watched the ensuing process that produced the new tax code. It was something that sparked my interest in learning about taxes and how (and why) they work the way they do.

In law school, my intellectual curiosity about taxes turned towards the charitable deduction and was one of the major factors that drove me to pursue a career in charitable gift planning. I fell in love with the fact that our country effectively allowed citizens to choose where their tax dollars could make a difference. Read more on the blog…

A Window of Opportunity: Donor Advised Fund before December 31?

On December 9th, the markets hit their 13th record close since the November elections. Accompanying the records in the market, we have also seen what feels like a record number of opinions of what the change in administrations will mean for taxes. Some of these opinions have focused on the potential tax changes and their effects on the charities and the charitable deduction. Fidelity Charitable offered what I consider a measured and reasonable framework for the possibilities. It is safe to conclude that there is at least a good likelihood that the benefits of giving in 2016 may be more tax wise than in future years. If you believe that to be true, these next few days may be ideal for starting a donor advised fund.