Straight Talk

Two tax-friendly ways to donate money

Creative ways to give and gift
Creative ways to give and gift
Key Points
  • If you are planning to give money to charity, you may want to consider opting for other strategies instead of cash.
  • Donating appreciated securities, such as stocks or mutual funds, can help you get a deduction while saving on capital gains taxes.
  • Setting up a donor-advised fund lets you set aside the money you intend to give to charity and time those donations according to the tax year.

If you want to give money to charities you believe in, you may want to consider two strategies that can help you boost your bottom line.

Instead of giving cash, try donating appreciated securities, such as stocks or mutual funds, according to certified financial planner Sophia Bera, founder of Gen Y Planning.

If you itemize your taxes, you can get a tax deduction for the amount that stock is worth, Bera said. The charity, in turn, does not have to pay the capital gains that you would have to pay if you sold the investment on your own.

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"It's a benefit both for you and for the charity," Bera said.

Just be aware that while you can still get a deduction for giving to charity under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it may be tougher to obtain.

That is because in order to get a charitable deduction, you need to itemize instead of taking the standard deduction. But the size of the standard deduction has almost doubled, which makes that a higher hurdle to clear.

You may also want to consider opening a donor-advised fund, Bera said.

Donor-advised funds let you set aside cash or securities that you intend to donate. Then, in the year that you do make the donation, you get a tax deduction.

"For tax purposes it's a really easy way to have all of your donations in one spot, because the money is coming out of the donor-advised fund," Bera said.

To find out more about whether a donor-advised fund is right for you, check with your certified public accountant, Bera said.