Tips on Timing Your Year-End Charitable Gift

Gift by check

The effective date of your charitable contribution is the day you mail or hand-deliver the check, provided you have placed no restrictions on its cashing. A check dated December 31 and mailed and postmarked on that date is deductible this year. It does not matter that we receive the check in the new year and that it is actually charged to your account in January. Note: If your check is mailed in December but postdated so that it cannot be cashed until the next month or if it is dated in December but not mailed or handed to us until January, it cannot be deducted on the prior year’s return.

Gift of securities

Securities are among the most popular assets for making charitable gifts. The rules for transferring securities, while not complicated, are strict. If you plan to take a deduction on this year’s return, you will want to exercise care to ensure that you execute your transaction so as to complete your gift this year.

Remember that the amount of your deduction depends on the value of the securities at the time the gift is completed. Choosing the date to complete your gift can make a difference in the amount of your deduction. Practical tips:

  • If you hand-deliver a properly endorsed stock certificate, or an unendorsed stock certificate and a properly endorsed stock power, the gift is effective on the date we receive it.
  • If you deposit these documents in the mail, the postmark constitutes the date of the gift. It is important to send the stock certificate and the stock power separately when sending securities through the mail.
  • If your securities are held in a brokerage account, ask the broker to call for instructions and transfer stock from your account to a temporary account in our name. The gift is effective when the stock is transferred from your account. After receiving instructions, a broker can usually complete the transfer electronically. The broker must call us for instructions on handling the stock, in order to ensure that the valuation of the gift—and your charitable deduction—takes effect on the proper date.

Gift of mutual funds

As the donor, by letter or by completing a form provided for vouchers, you instruct the fund’s transfer agent to transfer all or “x” shares to an account established for us. Your signature should be guaranteed. The date of the gift is the date the shares are credited to our account.

Gift of real estate

Your gift is complete on the day the signed deed is delivered or mailed to us. Although the actual execution of a deed can be delayed until the very end of the year, the gift should be put in motion earlier, as we will need to determine the acceptability of the gift. Also, in most cases an appraisal will precede the gift.

We are here to help
If you have questions about the proper way to transfer any kind of property, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to assist you in making an effective transfer to ensure your deduction in the current year. All inquiries are kept strictly confidential.

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