Philip A. Wagler appears on Lawyers on Call, WPTA
Much is being made by political campaigns and the media of the expiration of the “Bush tax cuts,” provisions passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in 2001 and 2003 that extended tax relief to many Americans
Estate planning is an area that many people have on their “to do” list. You may be one of them, thinking that you need to get a will in place so that your affairs are in order. Depending on your situation, this may include appointing a guardian for your children, setting up testamentary trusts for your children or grandchildren, making sure a niece receives a certain family heirloom, or giving a sum of money to a charitable organization. Estate planning is the process where you take care of each of these desires, but for the purposes of this article it is the desire to make a gift to a charitable organization that is highlighted.
Charitable contributions yield many benefits: a financial benefit for the charity, the joy of giving for the donor, and (potentially) a tax deduction for the donor. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Publication 526 describes a charitable contribution as “a donation or gift to, or for the use of, a qualified organization. It is voluntary and is made without getting, or expecting to get, anything of equal value.” The qualified organizations of which the IRS refers in this definition include churches and most nonprofit groups.