Wednesday, December 16, 2015


As you are planning year-end and holiday charitable contributions, here is another timely reminder taken from my “Charitable Contributions Guide”, available for only $1.00 at my “Dollar Store”.

Instead of giving cash to charity at year-end you can donate stock, bonds or mutual fund shares that you have held for more than one year and which have increased in value, and save some money in the process.

You can claim a deduction for the full market price of the investment on the date you make the donation.  You don’t have to report the increase in value as a capital gain on Schedule D.

Art Center has pledged $5,000.00 to his church building fund.  He also has 100 shares of Online Profits, Inc. which he purchased in 1998 for $2,000.00 and is now worth $5,000.00.  He decides to give the stock to the church to satisfy his pledge.  Art can deduct $5,000.00 on his Schedule A.  He does not have to pay tax on the $3,000.00 appreciation in the value of the stock.

If Art were to sell the Online Profits, Inc. stock and give $5,000.00 cash to the church he would have to report the sale of the stock on Schedule D and pay $450.00 in federal tax, as well as state income tax, on the gain.  Plus, the $3,000.00 gain would increase his Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), which could reduce or altogether wipe out a multitude of deductions and credits that are affected by AGI.  As an added bonus, by donating the stock rather than selling it Art will save the broker’s commission and other expenses of sale.

Any investment you donate to charity must be long-term property - an investment you have held for more than one year.  If you donate stock that you held for one year or less your deduction is limited to the cost basis, which in the above example would be $2,000.00.

Also, do not donate an investment that has gone down in value.  It is better to sell the stock, claim the loss on Schedule D, and donate the cash to charity.

My standard final word of advice – before acting on anything you have read here, or in any other article or blog post, or you have heard on tv or radio, contact your tax professional.



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