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We are pleased and excited to announce significant changes to Though you may not realize it at first glance, the website has been completely redone as part of our ongoing efforts to better serve our users.

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Recent Commentary

All Cash Merger

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Contributing stock to a Flip Unitrust prior to a merger saves donors immediate capital gain taxes, provides an income tax charitable deduction, and increases future retirement income.

Visual Planned Giving - Chapter 4 - How to Document Charitable Gifts

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

In the fourth chapter of Visual Planned Giving: An Introduction to the Law & Taxation of Charitable Gift Planning, author Russell James outlines how to keep credible records of all gifts. Documenting charitable gifts is an essential, although less than glamorous, area of charitable planning. A lack of proper documentation can result in a total loss of the charitable deduction even if the taxpayer does not overstate the gift. Gifts of cash under $250 only require a proof of the gift, which can come in the form of a canceled check, credit card statement, or note from the charity. For a gift of cash exceeding $250, the donor must have a note from the charity indicating the amount, and stating no goods or services were provided in return for the gift, or if any were provided, a description and value of the items. The documentation requirements are based on individual, not cumulative, gift amounts.

IRS imposes different documentation requirements for noncash gifts, depending on the size of the gift, and the potential for abuse. These procedures must be complied with strictly, or the taxpayer can lose the entire deduction, even if the valuation of the gift is correct. Gifts of property under $250 must be substantiated with a receipt from the charity with the date, donor, location, and description of the property. Additionally, the donor must have reliable records proving the property's value. For gifts of property over $500, the donor must include the information mentioned, plus Form 8283. Next, for gifts of property over $5,000, over than publicly traded securities, donors must obtain a qualified appraisal. The donor must have in their possession all the above items, and include a summary of the qualified appraisal on Form 8283. Lastly, with gifts of property over $500,000, or gifts of artwork exceeding $20,000, the donor must include the entire qualified appraisal with the return. The lower limit for artwork recognizes the difficulty in valuing artwork, and the potential for abuse.

Mr. James has created a set of 65 videos for his "Complete Charitable Planning Training Series," to help his readers understand Chapter 4 and the entire book.

IRS Updates Applicable Federal Rates for December 2020

Monday, November 16, 2020

The IRS has announced the Applicable Federal Rates for December 2020, including the Section 7520 rate of 0.6%.

Increasing Lifetime Cash Flow with Annual Contributions to a CRT

Thursday, November 12, 2020

A Flip-CRUT allows the donor to remove the stock from her taxable estate, create an income tax deduction, and increase her future cash flow.