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Tax-Savvy Ways to Give

Even though this year has been unlike any other, the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and our incredible staff have come together to work in defense of clean water, wildlife, open space, and the magnificent Santa Barbara Channel.  And I’ve never been prouder of our community.

In the spirit of togetherness, I’m asking you to take an important step to stand with EDC during this season of giving.  Now, more than ever, EDC needs your help. 2022 will be an important year as we continue the fight to stop irresponsible fracking and acidizing in the Santa Barbara Channel, steam injection and other dangerous oil production methods, and chart a course for a clean energy future, leading the way on offshore wind.

I want to share a way that many of our dedicated supporters, like you, are making the most of their end-of-year donations. You can make a big impact on all the causes you care about, while saving money in the process!

Did you know that donating stock or making a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) is one of the smartest ways to give — and it benefits you while supporting EDC?

Here are a few ways you can help EDC this year while reaping tax benefits:

Donate a Cash Gift

Any gift, no matter how big or small, can make a huge difference to our work. Plus, with the recent passage of the CARES Act, every American can donate up to $300 in 2021 and claim an income tax deduction (tax-free), whether or not you itemize deductions.

Donate Stock

Donating stock is the most tax-savvy way to give. It allows you to save on your taxes in two ways: by avoiding capital gains taxes and by allowing you to take an income tax deduction.

The U.S. government taxes capital gains, so when you sell appreciated stock, you have to pay taxes on what you earned. This is called a capital gains tax. Depending on your income bracket, you could be taxed up to 20% on your capital gains. And if you have owned the stock for less than a year, it could be taxed even more since it’s treated as regular income. However, if you give this stock to a charity instead of selling it, neither you nor the charity have to pay taxes on it.

Stock donations are also tax deductible. That means that when you file your federal taxes, if you itemize deductions, you can deduct the donation made to EDC from your taxable income. You’re allowed to deduct up to 30% of your adjusted gross income in stocks that you’ve held for at least a year.  When you lower your taxable income, you pay less overall in income taxes, saving you money again.


If you don’t want to change your portfolio, you can always donate shares of appreciated stock, then repurchase the same number of shares immediately after, so your portfolio stays the same. When you do this, you eliminate all the capital gains on your previous shares and reset your “cost basis” to the current price, possibly saving even more in taxes when you sell the new shares in the future.

If you are interested in making a stock gift, you can follow these easy steps:

  • First, discuss income tax implications and estate/planning objectives with your tax advisor, then contact our Development Coordinator, Jessica Dias, to receive EDC’s brokerage information.
  • Next, contact your broker or financial advisor to determine the most beneficial appreciated stock to donate. Complete your brokerage’s paperwork to authorize the stock donation. Please be sure to let your broker know to include your name so that EDC will know who the gift is from.
  • Once the stock transfer is complete, we’ll send you a receipt for your records

Making a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from Your IRA

The Cares Act suspension of IRA Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) has not been extended into 2021. If you are 70 ½ or older, you can donate up to $100,000 in IRA assets directly to EDC without taking the distribution into taxable income. The new RMD age is 72; by giving a QCD at 70 ½, you will reduce future RMD by lowering your overall IRA balance. The transfer must be completed by December 31st to count against this year’s RMD requirement.  Not sure where to start?  Here is the typical process for making a QCD:

  • Communicate with your IRA custodian (where your IRA is held) that you are interested in making a QCD(s) and make the request in writing, specifying the dollar amount you want to contribute.
  • Request the check be made payable to EDC but be mailed to you. Then forward the check to EDC and we’ll send you a receipt for your records.

If you’re able, I hope you’ll join us in giving back this holiday season. We have so much more work that needs to be done providing free and low-cost legal services to fellow nonprofits. With your support EDC will continue to ensure a safe and healthy environment, and protect our coast, climate, and communities for today and generations to come.

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Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    John E Hankins

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    What I do for the Ventura Land Trust, is have my RMD go directly to the VLT on a monthly basis, so if my RMD is $1200 I have my annuity (could be an IRA RMD, too) send $100 per month. That way it is not considered income as it goes directly to a non-profit and I also take the deduction.
    What I’m not clear about your explanation is that EDC is a QCD, I thought you were a for profit? .

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Jessica Dias

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      Hi John,

      Thank you for your comment. EDC is a 501 (3)(c) nonprofit organization.

      It is terrific you gift your RMD monthly to VLT. That is another great option for making a QCD. We suggest in our blog that QCD checks be made out to EDC but mailed to the donor who can then forward it to EDC so that we always know who the donor is. Often times, brokerages and financial institutes will send donations to EDC without the donor information.

      Reply

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