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Another View -- Richard Peck: Now is the time to give

December 21. 2017 12:02AM

This might sound like hyperbole, but it’s not: Right now is the best time to give that we have seen in a very long time.

The stock market is at the high point of an eight-year bull market. That means securities that have appreciated significantly in value are a great asset to give.

And giving in 2017 means that you can take advantage of our current tax laws — before proposed changes to tax rates and deduction values are enacted that could reduce tax benefits for charitable giving.

People usually think of cash when they think about giving to charity. But here’s the thing: Donating stocks, bonds or mutual funds directly (rather than selling them and donating the proceeds) means the entire value of those securities will go to charity — and your gift has even more impact. Capital gains taxes are eliminated while the value of the asset is eligible for a deduction. So $100,000 of value donated by someone in the top income-tax bracket means the entire $100,000 (rather than the $80k that would have been left after long-term capital gains taxes) goes directly toward a nonprofit’s critical mission.

Giving now, while values remain high, is an unprecedented opportunity to make a huge difference with your charitable dollars.

This time of abundance created by the market dovetails with a time of significant need: New Hampshire’s nonprofits are on the front lines of the opioid crisis, they are working to increase opportunity for increasing numbers of kids whose families are struggling, they are protecting our environment and helping the arts to thrive and generally making New Hampshire better for everybody. If there is a cause or an issue you care about, New Hampshire has a nonprofit working hard on it every day. Your gift will be celebrated, appreciated, and put to immediate and good use.

And yes, there is still time to make a significant gift to your favorite nonprofit before year-end or establish a donor-advised fund. DAFs are the fastest-growing charitable giving vehicles in the U.S. and can be established at community foundations (such as the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation) or at commercial providers (such as Fidelity or Schwab). DAFs allow people to organize their giving by making a single gift into their DAF, and then recommending grants to nonprofits from it.

Gifts directly from an IRA (for folks over 70.5 who need to take a distribution) are another great way to give. The IRA Charitable Rollover has been reinstated permanently, which means direct gifts to charities from IRAs can be made tax-free.

We encourage people to have conversations with trusted financial professionals about assets that they might consider giving to charity now, while values are high and while current tax laws are in effect.

Please remember that in order to claim a tax deduction for 2017, your gift must be postmarked or hand-delivered on or before Dec. 31, 2017. Please check with individual organizations to which you plan to give for their cutoff dates to process donations in 2017.

Richard Peck is vice president of development and philanthropy services at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

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