Tax-Savvy Charitable Giving

Tax-savvy charitable giving changes with time:

While you’re alive. Donate appreciated assets such as stocks and mutual fund shares. After a one-year holding period, you can receive tax deductions based on the full value of the donated assets and avoid paying capital gains tax. Giving away these assets allows you to hold onto your IRA, extending tax deferral.

In your estate plan. Follow the opposite strategy when you draft your will and name IRA beneficiaries. Name a charity as IRA beneficiary while leaving appreciated assets to your heirs.

The latter approach enables your heirs to inherit the appreciated assets with a “step-up in basis.” That means they can sell those assets and avoid income tax on the paper profits during your lifetime.

At the same time, giving away some of your IRA to charity reduces the income tax your beneficiaries would owe on all IRA withdrawals.