Jaime Castle picked the winner for the Split-the-Pot auction raffle. It’s Steve and Julie Kane. She made a video of her picking the winner.
The Budget Bill, signed into law on December 20, 2019, allows taxpayers, age 70 ½ or above, to continue to make Qualified Charitable Donations (QCDs) from their IRAs with a few caveats. Many of our church members find this is a great way to support our church and reduce their tax burden.
The Budget Bill pushes the retirement account Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) beginning age back to age 72, but still allows QCDs beginning at 70 ½. How to calculate the cap on the tax-free distribution is not yet clear, but we can assume we would continue to use the tables provided under the prior law, or $100,000, whichever is smaller. So, from age 70 ½ to age 72, a taxpayer can make a QCD based on the RMD tables even though they have no requirement to take a distribution.
Another change included in the bill, however, makes things more complicated for some people. There is no longer any age limit for making contributions to an IRA or other retirement account. A taxpayer can make contributions at any age, as long as they have “earned income,” usually wage or business income. If someone makes a contribution to a retirement account, the contribution would effectively offset the QCD, making part or all of the distribution taxable.
These changes are effective January 1, 2020. Be sure to consult your tax advisor for advice about your specific situation.
December 28, 2019
If you have stock that has been held for more than one year, you can donate the appreciated stock to the church, deduct the fair market value of the stock as a charitable deduction, and pay no tax on the unrealized gain.
Selling the stock yourself and taking a deduction for the cash gift may actually result in higher taxes. First, because of the increased standard deduction, an itemized deduction has lost some value. Also, the taxable gain on the stock will increase your Adjusted Gross Income which will increase your Ohio taxable income. If you are receiving Social Security, the additional income may increase the tax burden on your benefits.
If you are considering doing this, talk to us first. The church has a brokerage account that will allow a quick and painless transfer. If you talk with your financial advisor first, they will probably want to open a new account that will double the paperwork and delay the transfer.
If the stock has a loss, you may want to sell it first, donate the proceeds to the church, for an itemized deduction, and deduct the loss on your tax return.
Since the change in the tax law, increasing the standard deduction, Donor Advised Funds (DAF) have become more popular. Think of them as charitable savings accounts.
Tax-deductible contributions to a DAF allow a taxpayer to bunch their charitable contributions into one year, in order to itemize deductions, while taking the standard deduction in other years. You get the tax deduction when you make the contribution to the fund, but the actual grant to the church or other charity can be made later. This is particularly effective if you have unusually high income one year, with extra cash, but you want to be able to make contributions in later years when your cash flow is back to normal levels.
Donor Advised Funds have been around since 1931. The Greater Cincinnati Foundation sponsors DAFs as well as many brokerage houses. If you are considering this strategy, shop around to find one that fits your needs. Costs and support vary.
Your donation to the DAF is irrevocable. Technically, the donor advises the DAF custodian on when and what organizations should receive grants. There are a few restrictions on what type of organizations can receive grants from a DAF. You can make grants to the church or Heritage Acres or to the Endowment Fund.
Donor advised funds can accept cash, or stock or other property that can be sold. Most DAFs have a limited menu of investment choices you may use until you make the actual grant to the church or other charity.
You may have noticed a change when you filed your 2018 tax return. The standard deduction increased so that many people no longer itemize their deductions. But, you can still get tax savings from your charitable donations without itemizing.
This month I want to highlight a popular method—Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD). You must be over 70 ½ to use this strategy.
A person over 70 ½ can direct their retirement IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD), or a portion of it, to the church and avoid tax on the distribution. The charitable distribution counts toward your required minimum distribution.
Reducing the taxable income this way will reduce your adjusted gross income, which may reduce the tax burden on your social security benefit, possibly lower your Medicare premiums, and reduce your Ohio state income tax. A lower adjusted gross income may also provide other benefits, depending on your individual situation.
Even if you take more from your retirement account than your RMD, you can still reduce the taxable amount by directing some of it to the church.
In order to take advantage of this strategy you must follow these rules.
There is no tax advantage to taking a QCD from a Roth IRA.
You can use your Kroger Plus card and Amazon Smile to support Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church. Here’s what to do.
Kroger is committed to helping our communities grow and prosper. Every year, Heritage Church earns hundreds of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards.
All you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card! Go to kroger.com/communityrewards to get started!
Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
Support Heritage Church by starting your shopping at smile.amazon.com. You can also sign up at the AmazonSmile Support Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church page. Once you have signed up, you can add the Smilematic extension to your web browser, so you’ll never forget to shop at AmazonSmile.
If you have questions about either program, contact Bob Rush at:
Happy Spring and Happy Pledge Drive Season! We are conducting a fully digital pledge drive this year, and we’re off to a great start. If you have not yet submitted your pledge, the process is very simple. Visit https://huuc.net/category/stewardship-campaign/. On this new Pledge Campaign section of the HUUC website you’ll find information about the priorities of our pledge campaign this year, and you will find an online pledge form that you can use to submit your pledge. This form is private and secure.
All members and pledging friends should have already received an email from me about a week ago giving you information on your current pledge for the 2018-2019 fiscal year so that you have a baseline for calculating your new 2019-2020 pledge. We’re looking for a 6% average increase in order to maintain the services and infrastructure that we all rely on. It’s important that we receive all pledges by May 1 to give the Board of Trustees time to formulate our final budget for approval at our Annual Meeting on the morning of Sunday, June 2nd.
If you have any questions about pledging, please reach out to me via our new pledging email at:
Did you ever wonder about the Heritage Church tradition of putting money in the “birthday jar” during Candles of Community? People do it to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, with the money going to help pay for the plants, plaques, and materials used in our grounds’ maintenance. If you wish, you can also write a check or attach a note designating the money for some other special fund, such as Music. When the giver of the contribution is known, i.e. by check or note, the donation is included in the donor’s year-end statement for tax deduction purposes.
If you have questions, contact our Accounts Receivable Treasurer at:
If you donate by check, Bob Booth, who records donations coming in, will keep a record of that associated with your name. If you are giving a check as part of your annual pledge payment, write “Pledge” in the memo line. All checks not marked as “Pledge” will go to that week’s charity. All checks should be made out to the church, which can be written simply as “HUUC” on the Pay To line.
What about cash donations?
Bob wants you to know that if people itemize deductions for their income tax return and donate to charities by cash, the donations are deductible if the recipient(s) acknowledge the donation. That means that the cash has to be identified as to who is the donor. You can do this by putting the cash in an envelope and writing your name on the outside, or by paper-clipping a note with your name to the cash.
At the end of each tax year, Bob generates a statement regarding your donations, which you can use if you itemize deductions. If you have questions, email our Accounts Receivable Treasurer at:
Beginning this month, our Board of Trustees has authorized making every Sunday’s plate collection an outreach offering. With the beginning of a new calendar (and tax) year, Heritage Church is proud to join the growing ranks of Unitarian Universalist congregations who have committed themselves to creating a better, more peaceful, more just world by turning an outmoded ecclesiastical practice into a modern tool for effective social change.
In December, your generosity helped us surpass the budgeted amount for offering plate income for our current fiscal year (ending June 30). In future years, we plan to do away with the modest “offering plate” line in our budget, and rely solely on your annual pledges, outside rentals, fundraising, and so on to meet our operating costs.
What this means for us is the ability to give away the offering plate each week. What this means for the world around us is more help and support from the loving hearts and hands of the Heritage Church family for worthy non-profit organizations and projects that are consistent with our Unitarian Universalist principles and values.
Here’s how it will work on Sunday mornings: If you are writing a check to put in the offering plate, make it payable to “HUUC.” It will go toward our outreach offering recipient organization or project for that week, unless you specifically write “Pledge Payment” on the memo line. Doing so would indicate to our Treasurer that you prefer that money be counted as a payment toward your annual pledge. Otherwise, all checks, and all cash contributions, will go toward the outreach offering. (Remember, cash contributions are not considered tax deductible by the IRS.)