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What You Can Give

Gifts of Life Insurance

You can donate a life insurance policy to us or simply name us as the beneficiary. For the gift of a paid-up policy, you will receive an income tax deduction equal to the lesser of the cash value of the policy or the total premiums paid. To qualify for the federal charitable contribution deduction on a gift of an existing policy, you must name us as owner and beneficiary. 

When you first bought a life insurance policy, you probably hoped to ensure the financial stability of your family should something happen to you or your spouse. Have your circumstances changed since then? 

Life insurance can be a tool with many purposes. For example, it can provide liquidity for paying taxes and other expenses at death. But, believe it or not, some of the most satisfying uses for life insurance policies are connected with charitable giving! 

If you have a life insurance policy you no longer need, you might contribute it to a charitable cause in which you believe. Purchasing a new policy and naming United Way of Greenville County as beneficiary is another possibility. This often makes a significant future gift feasible and affordable, especially for younger donors. 

Perhaps you are considering a sizable bequest to United Way, provided your family's future inheritance is not affected. Life insurance can play a part in meeting this goal, too, by replacing for your heirs the amount donated. 

Gifts of Retirement Plan Assets

Did you know that nearly half your retirement plan assets can be eaten away by taxes at your death? Learn how to preserve more of your estate for the people and organizations that matter most in your life. 

Like many Americans, you are probably aware that the accumulation of assets in your retirement plan is the basis for a financially secure future. To preserve your retirement assets after your lifetime, consider the benefits of using them in a totally different way. 

Retirement accounts are often exposed to income taxes and estate taxes, at a combined marginal rate that could rise to 75 percent or even higher on large, taxable estates. Yet many of these taxes can be avoided or reduced through a carefully planned charitable gift.

Other considerations come into play when deciding on using retirement plan assets for charitable giving. Your account can pass directly to a charitable organization as your primary beneficiary, or it can be transferred to a deferred giving arrangement that will pay an income for life to a family member, after which the remaining assets pass to the organization. You might even consider a deferred gift that is designed to pay a life income to yourself. 

Gifts of Securities

The best stocks to donate are those that have increased greatly in value, particularly those producing a low yield. Even if it is stock you wish to keep in your portfolio, by giving us the stock and using cash to buy the same stock through your broker, you will have received the same income tax deduction but will have a new, higher basis in the stock. 

A stock portfolio is often among the most valuable assets you own, and one that carries substantial capital gain—appreciation in value. The downside to assets that have increased in value over the years is that the federal government is prepared to levy taxes of up to 28 percent on your capital gain. With careful planning, you can reduce or even avoid federal capital gains tax. We can show you how charitable giving may be one of your best defenses against capital gains taxes.

Gifts of Real Estate

If you own property that is fully paid off and has appreciated in value, an outright gift may be the simplest solution. You can deduct the fair market value of your gift, avoid all capital gains taxes and remove that asset from your taxable estate. You can transfer the deed of your home or farm to us now and keep the right to use the property for your lifetime and that of your spouse.  If you've owned your home or other real estate for a long time, no doubt it has increased in value significantly. What happens if you sell the property? 

First of all, the sale is subject to capital gains tax on the property's appreciation. If the property has been your main home for at least two of the past five years, you can exclude up to $250,000 of gain ($500,000 for married couples). However, this opportunity to avoid capital gains tax doesn't apply if the property is a vacation home, land or any real estate other than your primary residence. Plus, there's the cost of marketing and selling real estate, which also takes time and effort, even if you use professional assistance. 

Before you sell real estate, consider a new option. If you'd like to help fulfill our mission, your property opens the door to a unique giving opportunity: donate the property to us. You can give the property outright, place it in trust, retain the use of it for life or give it by will. All of these methods will enable you to enjoy personal financial benefits while supporting our work in a meaningful way. 

Gifts of Cash

The simplest way to give. However, you can deduct a cash gift for income tax purposes only in the year in which you contribute it. Your cash gifts are deductible up to 50 percent of your adjusted gross income for the taxable year, but any excess is deductible over the next five years. 

If you itemize deductions on your tax returns, the first tangible benefit of making a gift of cash to United Way of Greenville County today is an income tax charitable deduction for the full value of the gift in most cases. The resulting reduction in income taxes payable lowers the net cost of the gift. If you are subject to state and/or local income taxes as well as federal, the combined marginal rate (after the federal deduction for those income taxes paid) should be taken into consideration in determining the gift's net cost.

If you don't usually itemize deductions, you may want to consider it for any tax year in which you make a sizable charitable donation. One technique used by people who have few itemized deductions is to alternate between years in which they take the standard deduction and make few charitable gifts, and the years in which they give double their desired annual philanthropic support and shift to itemizing.

Beware of the annual limitation on the use of charitable deductions claimed for gifts to public charitable organizations, which for any specific year is 50 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash gifts. Any unused deductible amounts can be carried over and used for as many as five additional years, if necessary.

If you predict that your estate will be subject to estate tax at your death, keep in mind that you receive a federal gift tax charitable deduction for the value of gifts of cash made during your lifetime. Since the value also is removed from your future estate, it completely eliminates the federal estate tax. This savings reduces the net cost of your charitable gifts.


The information on this site is not intended as legal tax or investment advice.  For such advice, please consult an attorney.