Could A Donor-Advised Fund Save You Money On Taxes?

Could A Donor-Advised Fund Save You Money On Taxes?

| April 11, 2021
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When you make a charitable contribution, your main goal is to support organizations you’re passionate about and to benefit those in need. It used to be that a nice tax break was just an added perk. Unfortunately, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, with its higher standard deduction, causes many people to lose out on the tax benefits associated with charitable giving. 

But don’t be discouraged! You can still receive tax benefits for your charitable giving. How? Enter donor-advised funds.

How The Tax Cuts And Jobs Act (TCJA) Affects Charitable Giving

If you are charitably inclined, you are probably used to itemizing your deductions. However, with the increased standard deduction and the limit on deductions for state and local taxes, you may have not received as much of a tax benefit for your giving in the past 2 years before the TCJA went into effect in 2017 as you have previously. Basically, you only get a tax benefit for a fifth of your charitable giving.

What Is A Donor-Advised Fund?

This is why donor-advised funds (DAF) are gaining popularity. A DAF acts as a philanthropic savings account. You put money into it for the purpose of giving to charity and let it sit there until you are ready to give. Unlike a savings account, though, all contributions are irrevocable. Once you put an asset into a DAF, you can’t take it back. 

Because you can’t take back your contributions, they are considered complete charitable gifts and immediately tax-deductible. You can take the tax deduction right away even if you wait several years to pass the money on to charity. Though you don’t technically retain ownership when you put money or assets into a DAF, you are still able to guide, request, and recommend where the money goes. You get to name your DAF account, advisors, successors, and beneficiaries, and the holder of the DAF makes the ultimate decision on where the funds go. If you’re worried about letting control of your money go, know that most DAF holders will honor donor wishes as long as the recommendation complies with legal and tax requirements and grant-making policies.

Tax Benefits Of A Donor-Advised Fund

DAFs offer several tax benefits. First, you get to take an immediate deduction when you contribute, even if the money has yet to be given to the charity of your choice. Any limit to the deduction you’re allowed to take depends on what kind of assets you contribute to the DAF.

Publicly traded securities are a popular asset to contribute to a DAF. This is because you can avoid paying long-term capital gains taxes and still deduct the fair market value of the securities (if held over a year). If you buy a security at $100 and put it in a DAF when it’s worth $200, you get to deduct $200 of charitable giving without paying taxes on the $100 in gains.

Contributions of long-term capital gain property, like appreciated securities, can be deducted up to 30% of adjusted gross income (AGI). For all other contributions, including cash, you can deduct up to 60% of your AGI. If your contributions exceed your deductible limit, you can carry them forward to the next tax year.

Also, all contributions can be invested within the DAF to grow tax-free. Once assets are in a DAF, they belong to a charity and are therefore exempt from taxes. 

How Are Donor-Advised Funds Used?

Let’s assume all your spending numbers will be the same for the years 2021 and 2022. The 2021 standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly is $25,100, and let’s assume it will be the same for 2022. If you continue to give and itemize as usual, then you will have itemized deductions of $26,000 each year. That means you only receive a tax benefit for $900 of your giving in 2021 and 2022 ($26,000 itemized minus the $25,100 standard deduction) and your total deductions over the two years are $52,000.

Now, instead imagine that you open a donor-advised fund in 2021 and contribute $20,000 to it to cover your charitable giving for 2021 and 2022. In 2021, you will have itemized deductions of $36,000. Then, in 2022, you can simply take the standard deduction since you have no charitable giving to report. Your total deductions over the two years will be $61,100.

By utilizing a donor-advised fund, you end up with $9,100 more in deductions over the course of two years. If you are in the 24% tax bracket, that’s a tax savings of over $2,000. If you donate appreciated securities to the DAF, your tax savings will be even greater because you will not face capital gains tax on the disposal of the assets.

Are You Ready To Save Money With A Donor-Advised Fund?

Don’t let tax laws keep you from donating to charities and organizations you care about. Even with the new higher standard deductions, donor-advised funds make it possible to continue receiving a tax benefit for charitable giving. If you want to learn more about how a donor-advised fund can save you money on taxes so you can continue to give generously, Haydel, Biel & Associates is here to help. Contact us at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com.

About Haydel, Biel & Associates

Haydel, Biel & Associates is an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at ricky@hbawealth.com.

The commentary on this blog/website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Haydel Biel & Associates employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by  Haydel Biel & Associates or performance returns of any  Haydel Biel & Associates Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Haydel Biel & Associates manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

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