End-of-Year Charitable Giving Tips and Tax Benefits

by on December 20, 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, you might be thinking about last-minute tax strategies and opportunities for charitable giving before the end of the year.

Changes made under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this year created lots of questions about charitable giving. Contrary to reports you might have heard that deductions for charitable giving have gone away, it is really quite the opposite.

In fact, charitable giving and deductions associated with giving are alive and well, and parts of the changes actually make deductions more attractive, but planning is more important than ever.

Tax Deductions

Previously, individuals could only deduct up to 50 percent of their adjusted gross income. Recent changes to the tax law actually increase that limit to 60 percent of adjusted income.

While it is true that the standard deductions for all taxpayers have increased, there is still an opportunity for taxpayers to deduct charitable contributions if all itemized deductions (interest taxes and charity) exceed the standard rates.


One strategy to maximize deductions is to use bunching, whereby charitable deductions are bunched in one year to exceed the new higher standard deduction rates.

IRA Required Minimum Distribution

Another taxpayer friendly change to the law made permanent the Qualified Charitable Distribution rules for IRA holders. This could be the single most attractive tax planning tool for taxpayers subject to Required Minimum Distributions. Under this provision, taxpayers over 70 and one half years old may direct funds from their IRA to Mundelein Seminary and have the distribution count as their required minimum distribution for the year and also have the contribution escape taxable income. You will also be supporting our mission to form a new generation of holy, joyful parish priests.

Gifts of Appreciated Securities

Finally, individuals may still escape any capital gains taxes on any gifts of appreciated securities.  By gifting appreciated securities you avoid capital gain taxes and get a deduction for the fair market value of the securities given.   

For more information on how your gift can help Mundelein Seminary be sure to reach out to one of our team members in our Institutional Advancement Office by calling 847-970-4816 or via email at gifts@usml.edu.

This message is not to be acted on as legal or tax advice. To fully understand how charitable giving may affect your personal situation, always be sure to consult with your own tax advisor.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and thank you for supporting your future parish priests.

John Lehocky
Senior Vice President, Financial Operations
University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary