Year-End Giving

by John Mark Willcox, Director of Stewardship

In these times of rapid change, the end of the year can be an excellent time to review your important financial matters, especially those dealing with your desire to make any charitable gift to the Church before December 31, 2018. With changes to federal tax laws constantly being proposed, giving to the Church this year may save you more.

One of the last tax savings opportunities completely within your personal control are your monetary gifts provided for supporting the ministry of the Church. Naturally, the higher your tax bracket, the more your charitable Church gifts will save you. The amount you save depends on tax rates and the portion of your gifts you are allowed to deduct. Facilitating your financial incentives to give to the Church before year’s end can significantly reduce the amount of taxes you will owe next April.

Gifts of Cash

Most of the Church’s faithful give in this way in the form of cash, donating online, electronic transfers or personal checks. When you itemize your tax deductions, up to one half of your Adjusted Gross Income or AGI can be positively affected by gifts of this nature.

Gifts of Appreciated Property

Mutual funds, bonds, securities or individual stocks that have risen in value can result in tax savings. If you have owned these items for more than one year, they can be deducted from your income tax at full value. This also gives you the added advantage of avoiding capital gains tax due on a sale instead of a gift.

Some of your investments may have decreased in value as 2018 comes to a close. Consider selling them and making a charitable gift of the cash you receive for them. This creates a loss you may be able to deduct from other income subject to taxation, along with the amount of the cash donation. Remember that any tax deductions you choose not to use this year, may be carried forward for up to five future tax years.

Life Insurance Gifts

You may own an insurance policy that has accumulated cash value, but is no longer needed for its original purpose. You have the option of gifting the value of that policy to the Church and benefitting from welcome income tax savings.

Estate Plans

December is also an excellent month to review your immediate and long-range estate and financial plans. Retirement accounts, life insurance policies and wills are just some of the tools of estate planning that can leave a lasting legacy to the Church. These meaningful future gifts can also generate income while providing immediate tax savings. After your loved ones have been provided for, consider leaving a specific amount or a percentage, or the residue of your estate to the Church.

Action Equals Benefits

If you want to take advantage of the strategies listed above, the month of December is the time to act. See your advisors and accountant to provide you with your specific needs and spend time right now to decide on how best to make your year-end gifts work best for you and the Church you love. For more information on how your year-end or planned gift can help both you and the Church, contact the Diocesan Office of Stewardship at 800-256-1542.


Appeal Sunday Slated for February 17, 2019

The Masses of February 16-17, 2019 have been selected to launch our 2019 Annual Diocesan Stewardship Appeal Campaign. Please mark your calendars and begin to plan now on how you can gift your time, talent and treasure to the good of our combined ministry to the people of this region.

Appeal highlights for the coming year will be featured in the February issue of your Catholic Connection and don’t forget, additional Appeal donations received at the Catholic Center on or before December 31 can be attributed to your charitable contributions on your Federal Income tax form for 2018.  •

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