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Could a Donor-Advised Fund Save You Money on Taxes?

Could a Donor-Advised Fund Save You Money on Taxes?

May 24, 2022
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Is there anyone who doesn’t want to minimize their taxes and be generous at the same time? I didn’t think so. Donor-advised funds could be a great option to lower your taxable income, which will then decrease the amount you pay in taxes and simultaneously give more money to causes you care about. It’s a win-win situation.

Charitable Giving Under The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA)

If you’re charitably inclined, you’re probably used to itemizing your deductions. However, with the increased standard deduction and the limit on deductions for state and local taxes, you may not have received as much of a tax benefit for your giving in the past few years since the TCJA went into effect in 2017 as you have previously. Essentially, your benefit for giving to charity has now been reduced by more than 30%. (1)

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 cash contributions, 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. (2)

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. (3)

How Are Donor-Advised Funds Used?

Let’s assume all your spending numbers will be the same for the years 2022 and 2023. The 2022 standard deduction for a married couple filing jointly is $25,900, (4) and for now, we’ll assume it stays the same for 2023. 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 $100 of your giving in both 2022 and 2023 ($26,000 itemized minus the standard deduction) and your total deductions over the two years are $52,000.

Now, instead imagine that you open a donor-advised fund in 2022 and contribute $20,000 to it to cover your charitable giving for 2022 and 2023. In 2021, you will have itemized deductions of $36,000. Then in 2023 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.

We at 1on1 Financial would love to partner with you to help impact our world for the better. We specialize in guiding clients along the path to financial well-being while accumulating wealth and strategically planning for the future. Your giving is a critical piece in that puzzle. We collaborate with other strategic partners, such as tax planners, to help you reach your goals and create a plan that makes sense for you. If you want to see if a DAF is the right fit for your goals, call our office today at 909-981-1720 or simply click here to schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call!

About 1on1 Financial

1on1 Financial is an independent financial advisory firm specializing in guiding working and retired professionals, executives, and business owners along the path to financial well-being. Founded in 1997, we use a team approach to help our clients accumulate wealth, generate income, preserve their life savings, and strategically plan for the distribution of their estate. With more than 50 years of combined experience in the financial services industry, we remain true to our fundamental mission: to provide personalized guidance, treatment, care, and service so our clients can gain control of their future and feel confident in their financial life.

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(1) https://www.taxpolicycenter.org/briefing-book/how-did-tcja-affect-incentives-charitable-giving

(2) https://www.schwabcharitable.org/non-cash-assets/public-traded-securities

(3) https://www.fidelitycharitable.org/guidance/philanthropy/what-is-a-donor-advised-fund.html#:~:text=When%20you%20contribute%20cash%2C%20securities,any%20IRS%2Dqualified%20public%20charity.

(4) https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-provides-tax-inflation-adjustments-for-tax-year-2022