Year End Giving: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

By: Terry Bopp, Director of Operations

At some point in our growing up, we recognize that it is truly more satisfying to give than to receive. The delight of receiving a nice gift is fleeting, while the warmth in my heart that accompanies giving a special gift lasts so much longer. But there is always that difficult decision – what to buy, choices of sizes, colors, styles . . . . .

 Gift giving is only one of many holiday stressors.  I have a suggestion – give a gift that will be appreciated by friends, family and neighbors for many years to come – the gift of helping to preserve Kentucky’s natural beauty.

There is plenty of time left in this year to make a gift to The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky and several ways to do it:  send a check by mail, give a gift on-line at http://www.nature.tnc.org/ or call us with your credit card information (859-259-9655). You can designate the gift in honor of a special person. And your gift will be 100% tax-deductible. For tax credit this year, make sure your gift is made by December 31 or post-marked by December 31 if you are mailing it.

Purple Cone Flowers

Below are some excerpts taken from the IRS website regarding tax deductible donations.  For further information,  see www.IRS.govTips for Year-End Giving”.

WASHINGTON — Individuals and businesses making contributions to charity should keep in mind several important tax law provisions that have taken effect in recent years. Some of these changes include the following:

Special Charitable Contributions for Certain IRA Owners

This provision, currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2011, offers older owners of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) a different way to give to charity. An IRA owner, age 70½ or over, can directly transfer tax-free up to $100,000 per year to an eligible charity. This option, created in 2006, is available for distributions from IRAs, regardless of whether the owners itemize their deductions. Distributions from employer-sponsored retirement plans, including SIMPLE IRAs and simplified employee pension (SEP) plans, are not eligible.

To qualify, the funds must be contributed directly by the IRA trustee to the eligible charity. Amounts so transferred are not taxable and no deduction is available for the transfer.

Not all charities are eligible. For example, donor-advised funds and supporting organizations are not eligible recipients.

Amounts transferred to a charity from an IRA are counted in determining whether the owner has met the IRA’s required minimum distribution. Where individuals have made nondeductible contributions to their traditional IRAs, a special rule treats transferred amounts as coming first from taxable funds, instead of proportionately from taxable and nontaxable funds, as would be the case with regular distributions. See Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), for more information on qualified charitable distributions.

Rough Fruited Cinquefoil

Guidelines for Monetary Donations

To deduct any charitable donation of money, regardless of amount, a taxpayer must have a bank record or a written communication from the charity showing the name of the charity and the date and amount of the contribution. Bank records include canceled checks, bank or credit union statements, and credit card statements. Bank or credit union statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the amount paid. Credit card statements should show the name of the charity, the date, and the transaction posting date.

Donations of money include those made in cash or by check, electronic funds transfer, credit card and payroll deduction. For payroll deductions, the taxpayer should retain a pay stub, a Form W-2 wage statement or other document furnished by the employer showing the total amount withheld for charity, along with the pledge card showing the name of the charity.

These requirements for the deduction of monetary donations do not change the long-standing requirement that a taxpayer obtain an acknowledgment from a charity for each deductible donation (either money or property) of $250 or more. However, one statement containing all of the required information may meet both requirements.