Richard Peck, Foundation vice president of development and philanthropy. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

Richard Peck, Foundation vice president of development and philanthropy. (Photo by Cheryl Senter.)

This is the moment to give

Foundation VP Richard Peck explains why the combination of high community need, strong stock market gains and uncertainty in tax law makes December 2017 the right time to make big gifts

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 set up a donor-advised fund, give to an existing fund, or make a significant gift to your favorite nonprofit before year’s-end. Just this week, we worked with a family to set up a donor-advised fund by accepting appreciated securities. The fund took only days to set up, and the family asked the Foundation to grant out 20 percent of those assets before the end of December – so those charitable dollars will get to work in our communities immediately, helping people get the health care and education they need.

Gifts directly from an IRA (for folks over 70-½ 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 us or 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. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s team is always here to help craft the philanthropic plan that is right for you.

Please remember that, in order to claim a tax deduction for 2017, your gift must be postmarked or hand-delivered on or before December 31, 2017. Please note, however, that December 31 lands on a Sunday this year, so the last business day of the year will be Friday, December 29. Please check with individual organizations to which you plan to give for their cutoff dates to process donations in 2017.

A few important dates to keep in mind if giving through the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation:

Friday, December 15: Gifts of mutual funds should be completed by December 15 or earlier, as these gifts can take up to 10 days to process.

Sunday, December 31: Last day to accept gifts of cash, check or securities. (Click here for instructions to gift securities). However, to ensure that gifts of securities are transferred from your account by the December 31 deadline, we strongly recommend that you complete these transactions by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 28.

Richard Peck, vice president of development and philanthropy services at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, can be reached at 800-464-6641 ext.265 or Richard.Peck@nhcf.org.

This article is informational and educational in nature. It is not offering professional tax, legal, or accounting advice. For specific advice about the effect of any planning concept on your tax or financial situation or with your estate, please consult a qualified professional advisor.