Two Charitable Tax Savings for Spontaneous Donors

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Each person experiences the joys of generosity differently. For some, imagining and planning the gifts and the recipients is much of the joy. For others, being swept up in the moment and moved into a gift is a rewarding experience. Still others enjoy the ritual of regular giving.

For those who enjoy the ritual, such as placing cash in the offering basket at church, or the emotional experience, such as giving after a moving presentation at a charity fundraiser, losing the significance of the moment so you can save more money on taxes misses the point. After all, most of us who give to charity do so for much loftier reasons than tax law.

However, there are at least two ways you can keep the significance of the moment while still giving in tax smart ways.

If you benefit from gifting appreciated stock…

While you cannot yet easily transfer a gift of stock directly from your account to a charity on the fly, with a bit of preparation, you can use your smart phone to facilitate spontaneous, tax-smart gifts.

At the start of your giving season, you can donate an amount of appreciated stock to a Donor Advised Fund. This secures your tax benefits for the year, enables you to save on your capital gains, engage in strategies like gift clumping, and ensure that you take advantage of the right amount of annual giving in your itemized deductions.

Now that your Donor Advised Fund is funded. Download the Schwab Mobile App. From the app, you can grant money from your Donor Advised Fund to charities of your choice. This means whether you are listening to the offertory music or moved by a fundraiser event, you can donate to charity in the moment as you feel led.

If putting something in the offering box is important to you, perhaps carry pledge cards in your wallet rather than a checkbook. This way, you can drop a pledge card into the basket to notify them of the coming gift while also granting them money on the app.

If you benefit from QCDs…

If you are accustomed to giving by check and you also want to employ the strategy of giving qualified charitable distributions directly out of your required minimum distribution, then you are in luck. Most individual retirement accounts (IRAs), and certainly the ones at Charles Schwab, are able to have check writing turned on and a checkbook issued for you.

While most of your IRA will likely be invested and you can only clear checks out of your cash allocation, this need not be a problem. With our cash flow management service, we help to maintain any cash targets you set with us. So if you know how much you like to give each month, we can make sure there is always enough cash for your checks to clear.

Without the help of a financial advisor, you also have the option of periodically selling sufficient investments to cover your next quarter’s projected giving.


Utilizing tax-smart spontaneous giving only requires the smallest amount of planning ahead. And, with a financial advisor like us there to help, even that bit of planning can be effortlessly accomplished.

Photo by Amy Texter from Pexels

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Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.