Securities & Stocks

Give a Gift of Appreciated Securities

The University of Wisconsin Foundation recently launched a new online form that makes it easier for our donors and their brokers to make gifts of appreciated securities.

Make a Gift

Gifts of appreciated property have been considered the “best value” in charitable giving. That is because there are multiple benefits to making a gift of this type. In addition to a charitable contribution tax deduction, you generally are able to avoid paying capital gains tax on the increase in the value of the assets. What follows is some basic information on how property like this is valued, its benefit to you as a donor, and how to transfer these properties.

If you have any questions about appreciated gifts of securities, please contact Gift Services at 800-443-6162 or [email protected].

Factors to Consider


Long-term property is property that has been held for longer than 12 months. Property held less than 12 months is considered short-term property. There are significant benefits to gifts of long-term property, including a charitable deduction based on the fair market value of the stock and the ability to avoid paying tax on capital gain. Depreciated stock is an asset that has lost value since it was purchased and generally should not be gifted, as the donor cannot take the loss for tax purposes.

Publicly Held or Closely Held Stock

Stock can be either publicly held or closely held. Publicly held stock is traded on an exchange and can be purchased by anyone. It is usually easy to value, with market prices printed daily in financial publications such as the Wall Street Journal. Closely held stock is typically owned by a few individuals, often family members. It is more difficult to value and is not freely traded. For charitable gift purposes, either can be donated, although most gifts are made in publicly traded securities. The UW Foundation may choose to accept gifts of closely held corporation stock on a case-by-case basis.

Date of Gift

When you contribute certificates or transfer stock from a brokerage account, the date is easy to control. However, if you elect to have shares registered in the name of the UW Foundation, the date is uncertain because of the time required for registration.

Valuing the Gift — Your Charitable Deduction

When you give long-term, appreciated stock that is publicly traded to the UW Foundation, you receive a deduction for the fair market value. That value is the “mean market value,” which is the average of the high and the low price on the date of gift was made. Closely held stock usually requires an independent appraisal to determine value. Gifts of appreciated stocks are deductible up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income in the year of the gift. If the amount of the deduction exceeds that amount, you may carry your remaining deduction forward for up to five years.

Claiming Your Deduction

You must itemize your tax return to claim any charitable deduction. The UW Foundation will provide a receipt to you for your gift that complies with the current IRS regulations. You should file a form 8283 with your tax return to claim your deduction, completing section A of that form. For gifts of publicly traded securities, the UW Foundation does not need to sign the form.

Reregistration of the Stock

Although it is possible to reregister stock, we do not recommend it. Typically, you wouldd need to take the certificate to a banker or broker, and they would send the certificate to the transfer agent to have it reregistered in the name of the UW Foundation. When the process is completed, the transfer agent will mail a new certificate to the Foundation.

There are several reasons why we do not recommend reregistering stock. The transfer agent will not provide the UW Foundation with the name of the donor; we will just receive a new certificate in our name. If you use this method, you must notify the UW Foundation of the name of the stock you are donating and the number of shares. Also, your date of gift will be uncertain using this method. The gift is not final until the reregistration is complete, and there is no way to know in advance when that will be.

Brokerage Accounts

If the stock is in a brokerage account, request that the bank or broker holding the stock complete the online form to receive instructions. In most cases, a transfer can be arranged that will allow the gift to be made at a time of your choosing to maximize your tax benefits.

If you would like more information on appreciated gifts of securities, please contact Gift Services at 800-443-6162 or [email protected].