At the PCA Foundation, we work with believers to help them make the most of generosity to advance God’s Kingdom. Here’s three important facts you need to know about year-end giving.
1) Why do Christians give more in December?
We believe the increase in giving is partly motivated by the prominence of the gospel story this time of year. Christians are also leveraging the tax advantages of charitable donations. If they plan to itemize deductions on their 2018 tax return, they can reduce their tax burden by giving to a qualified charity by December 31.
It isn’t unusual for Christians who itemize their deductions to assess their income as the year grows to a close. As they do so, they look for ways to lower their tax burden or offset capital gains tax. The charitable donation deduction becomes a two-for-one opportunity. They can give more money to God’s Kingdom while lowering their obligation to Caesar (Mark 12:17).
Due to the increased standard deduction beginning in January 2018, many donors alternate between itemizing their deductions one year and taking the standard deduction the next year. They maximize their tax savings by making two or more years’ worth of charitable contributions in the year they itemize their deductions. This is often done by funding their Advise & Consult Fund® (a donor-advised fund) and then recommending distributions from it over the next two years.
2) What can Christians give?
Christians can give more than cash. Non-cash assets such as stocks, mutual fund shares and real estate are eligible for deduction on your tax return, as well. Cash is only one type of asset God has entrusted to us. Many Christians have their wealth in non-cash assets.
At the PCA Foundation, we help Christians facilitate the donation of cash and non-cash assets. Many churches are not equipped to process the donation of securities and property. We have years of experiencing helping Christians process gifts of all sorts, even equity in their own business.
3) When do they have to give?
Charitable contributions are tax deductible in the year you make the donation. You will reap the benefits on April’s tax return if you give no later than the December 31 deadline. Otherwise, you will have to wait until the following year to receive the tax break.
Notice, December 31 is on a Monday this year. The only gifts eligible for a 2018 charitable tax deduction are those received or postmarked no later than December 31. If a church member wants to donate stocks, mutual funds, or bonds, it is recommended they initiate the transaction at least 15 days prior to the December 31 deadline.
The PCAF helps a number of churches and generous Christians facilitate gifts to advance God’s Kingdom. From marketable securities (stocks, mutual funds, and bonds) to real estate, we are equipped to handle the gifting process from start to finish.
Contact us if you have questions on how we can help your church or members facilitate gifts beyond the offering plate.