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Senior Pastor: Rev. Dr. Karin Walker 
Associate Pastor: Rev. Danny Breidenbaugh

1509 Fallston Road
Fallston, Maryland, 21047
410-877-7255
Church email: fallstonumc@fallstonumc.org
Karin's email: karin.walker@fallstonumc.org
Danny's email: danny.breidenbaugh@fallstonumc.org

     

   

 

A Guide to Charitable Giving (written by the Mid Atlantic Foundation of the United Methodist Church)

The MAF manages our endowment fund and provides articles and resources to us.

Most of us would like to be in a financial position to give more to our church. In this difficult economic year we know the financial support is needed and any generous gift will be used for a good purpose. Fortunately our government’s tax laws can offer incentives that encourage support of the works and dreams of The United Methodist Church and its Ministries. Through careful planning, a gift can allow you to do more for your church family than you may have anticipated and still improve your own financial position, both today and tomorrow.

Three Big Questions… When should you give? What should you give? How much should you give?

For those who itemize deductions, a gift made before January 1 is deductible in the year in which it is made. If you have taken the standard deduction in the past, a gift in the appropriate amount may increase your deductions above the standard limit. This qualifies you for a greater tax benefit. Why does the tax deduction help? Tax deductions can make the cost of donating a charitable gift much less than the value received by the church.

Gifts of Cash

Nothing is easier and simple as giving cash. You can make a general donation, and the church will utilize your gift for the greatest current need. You may also designate a large gift for a specific purpose such as the endowment fund, our youth ministry, the building fund or special missions. A gift of cash may be deductible from your income taxes. However, you aren’t limited to giving cash. In fact, your tax benefits may be even greater if you give other property, such as assets that have appreciated in value.

Gifts of Securities

Stocks or other investments that have grown in value and you have held for more than one year can become a substantial gift, made at a low net cost to you. You still receive a charitable deduction for the donation of these assets, and it’s based on their fair market value on the date of the gift. But there’s a bonus—you avoid all federal capital gains tax that would otherwise be due on a sale of the assets.

If you have suffered a market loss you can take a capital loss yourself. If you own securities worth less now than when you purchased them, sell them and then contribute the proceeds to your church. You can take a capital loss on your tax return—a tax break that is not available should you give the securities directly to your church.

Gifts of Real Estate

Perhaps your first thought is that you don’t own property near the church to donate for use. The fact is, almost any real estate, developed or undeveloped, is potentially a charitable gift. If you’ve owned your home or other real estate for a long time, likely it has increased in value significantly. Your property opens the door to a unique giving opportunity: donate the property outright, place it in trust, or retain the use of it for life. All of these methods will enable you to enjoy personal financial benefits while supporting the church in a meaningful way.

Before you sell real estate that would result in a sizable capital gains tax, consider donating the property, you’ll avoid the tax and realize a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the property. 

Gifts of Life Insurance

As you review your year-end financial status, remember that a no-longer-needed life insurance policy is a viable gift. Policies that are paid up may be deductible as gifts for their replacement value (unless that value is greater than the tax or cost basis). Policies that still require premiums to be paid can be given, and the future premiums are deducted from your annual income tax. The donor may additionally qualify for income tax deductions when the church receiving the policy is named as owner and beneficiary.

Gifts That Provide Lifetime Income

Many givers find themselves in a position of holding assets that would make beautiful gifts at some time in the future but currently are required to provide for present needs. By placing such property into a Charitable Remainder Trust, a unique gift arrangement can be made that would provide income for a donor and perhaps a donor’s beneficiary as well. At the end of a specified period (such as the donor’s or the beneficiary’s lifetime), the remainder of the trust assets would be given to your church. Charitable remainder trusts are built with assets you contribute, such as securities, appreciated property or cash.

Charitable Gift Annuities may also be a possibility. A Gift Annuity is a simple contractual agreement made between you and the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation who will be naming your church as the beneficiary. The Foundation will pay you a guaranteed income for life (or two lives) at a rate based upon your age when you establish the gift. You are eligible for a charitable tax deduction in the year of the gift, and part of the income you receive in the future is tax-free. At the end of your life, the charitable remainder will benefit the church or ministry you have named.

Effectively Timing Your Gift

To provide your estate with a valuable deduction for year-end, timing becomes an issue that requires your attention. To benefit from a deduction this year, the effective date of the gift also must be this year. For example, if you are issuing a check to the church or ministry of your choice, the effective date of your contribution is the date it is hand-delivered or postmarked.

Gifts of securities, on the other hand, require more planning to ensure a deduction this year. The Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation processes these gifts free of charge. The gift is made on the day the Mid-Atlantic United Methodist Foundation receives a properly endorsed stock certificate, or an unendorsed stock certificate and a properly endorsed stock power. If making a gift of securities through the mail, it is best to send each of these documents separately. The date of your gift in this instance is the date of the latest postmark.

What Really Matters

The availability of the income tax deduction helps a charitable person be even more charitable. The focus on the end of the year is designed to remind all donors of the date by which a gift must be made to take advantage of the deduction. Neither, however, is a substitute for the desire to help charitable organizations. You support our church because you believe in its ministry and mission. And for that, we thank you.

If you would like more information about any of these giving opportunities, please contact Carole Cover (cThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and she will put you in touch with one of our finance team members who can assist.

Thanks for your generosity! 

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