This Tax Season: Less to Uncle Sam; More to the Kingdom of God

“Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; unto God the things that are God’s”

Tax season is once again upon us. With your annual tax bill looming, are you resigned to simply putting your head in the sand, sending a check to Washington D.C., and forgetting all about it until next year? Or are you committed to doing something now? Are you serious about reducing your 2015 tax burden?

What if you learned of a way to reduce your 2015 taxes, take those same government-bound dollars and use them to make an impact on people’s lives on your own terms. Here’s the gift to give yourself this tax season: the gift of intentional giving. What is intentional giving? It’s a commitment to approach your giving with business-like precision, fueled by a desire to be a good and faithful steward of all that God has given you.

Here are four components to intentional giving:

1. Tax Year Deadline of December 31

Don’t wait until the December 31 tax year end approaches to begin to make your charitable gifts for the year. Plan on making gifts to those nonprofits about which you are passionate– your church, ministries, charities, and other 501(c)(3) organizations– all year long.

2. Give Appreciated Assets

Consider sources of giving other than cash. Rather than pulling out a checkbook to make every charitable donation, consider other sources of giving; for example, your investment portfolio. If you have capital gains exposure in the stocks or mutual funds that you own, you can gift these and avoid paying any capital gains taxes at all. Read my lips: no capital gains taxes. Other sources for your charitable giving include appreciated assets like real estate, business interests, oil & gas and agricultural commodities.

3. Open a Giving Fund

A Giving Fund (Donor Advised Fund) is a charitable vehicle that functions as a charitable bank account. You can make all your contributions (whether cash or appreciated assets) at once, receive an immediate deduction, and then recommend grants to your preferred charities when you want. Give now, deduct now, grant to charities later.

4. Seek Advice about Giving

Intentional giving can involve aspects of financial planning, tax planning and other areas of your wealth management. Don’t do it alone. Get advice on how to get the most out of your giving program by asking your financial advisor or CPA to help you create a giving program that minimizes your taxes, multiplies your giving impact, and heightens your joy of generosity.

Waterstone is a Christian 501(c)(3), public foundation that works with givers, advisors and charities by maximizing their Kingdom impact through our innovative, tax-advantaged giving solutions.

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