Changing lives and avoiding taxes
Half the population of Guatemala lives on less than $2 a day, the equivalent of a box of Ritz Crackers. Considering most houses in Guatemala are built with rickety boards and fabric over a dirt floor, it’s fair to say extreme poverty is the norm. Thanks to several of our clients (and other “not-yet-clients”), some Guatemalans are getting an upgrade. A house can be built using cement blocks for walls, a slab floor, running water and a real roof for $4,000. That’s a 600% increase in their standard of living.
Philanthropy is a deeply personal endeavor and this is merely one example. But if you’re interested in paying less income tax, avoiding capital gains taxes, reducing your taxable estate and supporting your favorite charities, a gift trust is worth pursuing. Also known as a donor-advised fund, gift trusts are easy to set up, low cost, and can be opened with as little as $5,000.
Sponsored by companies like Charles Schwab and Fidelity, gift trusts function like your very own private foundation, minus the high costs, administrative and regulatory burdens. You donate assets to the account and then direct charitable gifts out of the account as you see fit. The primary benefits of using a gift trust include:
-get an immediate tax deduction for assets contributed, even if gifts will occur over many years
-avoids capital gains taxes on contributed assets
-contributions can be directed to multiple charities with a minimum amount typically around $50
-more tax efficient than selling highly appreciated assets and contributing proceeds
-can accommodate restricted stock, interests in limited partnerships and S-Corps, and real estate
-gets you away from “checkbook giving” and to an organized and disciplined gifting approach
-gifts to charities can be anonymous
-successors can be named to the gift trust, meaning a family tradition of giving can be established
-endowments can be set up
-no tax on investment income generated within the fund
What does Pittenger & Anderson get out of this deal? The satisfaction of seeing our clients doing what makes them happy.
As with all tax-related advice, please consult your accountant or tax advisor to see if a gift trust account is appropriate for you. We’re happy to help get the ball rolling.