For starters, try a strategy called “bunching.” Rather than giving every year, “give a greater amount every other year,” said Amy O’Loughlin, a director in CBIZ MHM’s tax and business services division in Phoenix, Arizona.
For example, instead of giving $5,000 to charity annually, accelerate the gift by giving $10,000 every two years. This way, you can get your itemized deductions over the limit one year and take the standard deduction the next.
Similarly, a donor-advised fund lets you make a charitable contribution and receive an immediate tax break for the full donation, and then recommend grants from the fund to your favorite charities over time.
“You can put in $10,000 and get a one-time tax deduction and spread your donations out to the charities you support,” O’Loughlin said.
Retirees, age 70½ or older, might also consider transferring money from their IRA to a qualifying charity. Such qualified charitable distributions can be a tax-efficient way of meeting your required minimum distribution — and you don’t need to itemize your deductions to benefit, according to Bronnenkant.
There are a few other tricks, too, like avoiding the capital gains tax on investments by giving stocks or other appreciated assets, such as artwork and antiques, which have grown in value.
“A standard practice on how to leverage charitable donations is to donate appreciated assets,” said Bronnenkant.
High-income earners, in particular, should consider a noncash donation specifically because of the tax advantages, he said.
And of course, “you can always give to charities without getting the tax break,” O’Loughlin added. Regardless, “Americans are very generous. I think they will always give to charity.”
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