Building Legacies that Last Estate Planning and Elder Law

The Future of Charitable Giving

Giving-to-charity2[1]What policies President-elect Trump chooses to pursue and whether they prove to be successful or not, could have a dramatic impact on charitable giving.

Whether it is to set up a lasting charitable legacy or to avoid paying the estate tax, creating plans for charitable giving has always been an important part of estate planning. After the unexpected results of the Presidential election, it is not clear exactly how estate planners will deal with their clients' charitable wishes. It is actually not clear which policies President-elect Trump will pursue after his inauguration that will have an impact on charitable giving.

Bloomberg looked at some of the possibilities in "Where Charitable Giving May Head With Trump."

Trump has stated that he will increase GDP growth by 4% per year, which would likely lead to more charitable giving. However, many economists doubt he will be able to fulfill that promise due to economic and demographic circumstances which are beyond his control.

The President-elect campaigned on cutting taxes, especially on the wealthy.  This would also likely increase giving to charity. However, his nominee for Treasury Secretary has cast some doubt on those tax cuts, by recently stating that any cuts on the wealthy will be offset by reducing deductions.

It is also thought that Trump would like to eliminate the estate tax.  This could reduce some charitable giving, at least when the impetus for the giving is to shrink the value of the estate.

Some of this uncertainty should be cleared up soon, when the President-elect begins submitting budget proposals to lawmakers. They should give an indication of what policies he will pursue.

Reference: Bloomberg (Nov. 27, 2016) "Where Charitable Giving May Head With Trump."

 

Trust Charitable Deductions

Giving-to-charity2[1]Like individuals, trusts have to pay tax on any trust income. Also, like individuals, trusts can take income tax deductions for donations to charity as long as the trust is set up properly.

No one really likes paying income taxes. Almost everyone will seek to pay as little as they possibly can. That holds true for trusts that are required to pay federal income tax on any income from trust assets.

One way to lower the amount of taxes that have to be paid is to donate money to charity and take a charitable donation. Trusts can do that just as individuals can.

However, a recent tax court case contains a warning for trusts as Wealth Management discusses in "Tax Court Disallows Trust's Charitable Deduction for Want of Charitable Intent."

For years the trust in question had made annual distributions to beneficiaries as required. The trust administrators also set aside funds for charity so they could use that money to take charitable deductions on the trust's taxes.

However, when the IRS audited the trust, it balked at the deductions.

The tax court agreed with the IRS.

The issue was that the trust documents contained no language of charitable intent. The court refused to read such an intent into the trust.

What does this mean? If you would like your trust to be able to use charitable deductions to offset trust income, then it needs to be clear in the trust documents that the trust has a charitable purpose in part.  If you want to set up a trust that can make charitable deductions, contact Profit Law Firm.  Schedule a consultation with us.

Reference: Wealth Management (Nov. 7, 2016) "Tax Court Disallows Trust's Charitable Deduction for Want of Charitable Intent."