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Recent Commentary

Visual Planned Giving - Chapter 10 - Gifts of Partial Interest

Thursday, January 18, 2018

In the tenth chapter of Visual Planned Giving: An Introduction to the Law & Taxation of Charitable Gift Planning, author Russell James explains gifts of partial interests. Donors are not allowed a deduction for a retained partial interest gift, which occurs when a donor splits up the ownership rights in property, gives some to charity, and keeps others. One example is when a donor allows a charity to rent a building at no cost. While the charity has the right to use the property, the donor retains ownership. If a donor gives the title to a vehicle or other tangible personal property to a charity, but keeps the right to use it for one year, no deduction is allowed until the donor's rights expire.

Generally, the donor must give all his or her rights, or there is no deduction. There are important exceptions to the general rule, such as charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, pooled income funds, charitable gift annuities, and retained life estates. These gift vehicles are subject to extensive rules prohibiting self-dealing.

While a donor cannot divide up rights in property, keep some, and give some to charity, a donor can divide the property itself. A donor who gives an undivided fractional share of an asset is entitled to a deduction. For example, a donor who splits up a parcel of land, and gives one-half to charity, while keeping the other, is entitled to an immediate deduction. The concern with a retained partial interest is not present in this scenario because the donor has no rights over the land given to charity. The undivided fractional share exception allows for creative planning. If a donor gifts a remainder interest in a residence to charity (an exception to the partial interest rule), the donor could then give the charity the right to use the residence for 11 out of 12 months. This gift is an undivided interest in all the rights the donor still owns.

If the donor makes a gift of a fractional interest undivided share in tangible personal property, the charity must obtain full ownership of the asset at the earlier of ten years or the donor's death to be entitled to a deduction. If the donor violates these rules, the deduction is recaptured as ordinary income. The donor must pay taxes on this amount, plus interest and a 10% penalty.

Mr. James has created a set of 65 videos for his Complete Charitable Planning Training Series, to help his readers understand Chapter 10 and the entire book.

Funding a Section 529 Plan

Monday, November 1, 2010

By contributing low-yielding appreciated stock to a CRT, donors are able to fund their grandchildren's Section 529 plans, give to charity, avoid capital gains tax, and generate additional retirement income.

IRS Updates Applicable Federal Rates for February 2018

Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Rates / Tables / Statistics

The IRS has announced the Applicable Federal Rates for February 2018, including the Section 7520 rate of 2.8%.

Form 1023-EZ -- Automatic Rejections

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Stephen A. Martin, Director of Exempt Organizations Rulings and Agreements, released a memorandum to update procedures for processing Form 1023-EZ as set forth in Rev. Proc. 2018-5.