Giving a gift of cash is one of the easiest ways to support Ascent’s mission. Gifts of cash include money contributed by check, credit card, by electronic fund transfer or by payroll deduction. Cash donations are fully tax deductible. For the 2020 tax year, you can take an income tax deduction in 2020 for cash contributions directly to charity of up to 100% of your income. You can deduct up to $300 of your cash donation without having to itemize.
Individuals can give a one-time or recurring cash donation throughout the year. Donors who want to give a gift to Ascent throughout the year can have their donation debited from a credit or checking account each month.
Many companies offer matching gift programs to encourage their employees to make cash contributions to charitable organizations. While most companies offer to match the donor’s contribution dollar for dollar, some will double or triple your donation. Ask your employer if they offer a matching gift program.
Gifts of Appreciated Stock
You can make a bigger impact than giving cash by donating long-term appreciated securities, including stock, bonds, and mutual funds, directly to Ascent. Rather than selling appreciated stock for cash and paying tax on the amount of appreciation, which can cost up to 20%, the donor can gift appreciated stocks and deduct their full fair market value on the date they were donated. The gift of appreciated publicly listed stocks or closely held securities (bonds, mutual funds, etc.) may help to avoid paying tax on long-term capital gains and may offer substantial tax savings and/or tax credits, as long as the donor owns the stock for over one year.
Gifts of Real Estate
Gifts of developed or undeveloped property can offer tax savings to a donor by avoiding capital gains taxes if the value of the property appreciates in value since purchased. You can donate the property to avoid capital gains rather than selling it. For example, you can donate a family residence, continue to use it and receive an income tax receipt of the commuted value of the property at the time of donation. At the time of death, Ascent will obtain use of the residence. Donations of real estate assets other than a primary residence will reduce capital gains taxes by 50%.
Wills & Charitable Bequests
You can ensure charitable support by including a donation to Ascent as a beneficiary in your will. Your support can be for a specific amount of money or a percentage of your total estate. It is fully tax deductible for federal estate tax purposes and may also be deductible for state estate taxes. This type of gift allows you the flexibility to change your mind at any time.
A charitable bequest is a simple and accessible means of planning a gift. You can bequeath a fixed monetary amount, an identifiable asset or a percentage of your estate. You can also establish a residual bequest in which all or a percentage of the remainder of your estate becomes a gift after all specific bequests have been made and after taxes, fees and other costs of administering the estate have been paid, or you can name Ascent as a contingent beneficiary in the event of the death of a primary beneficiary.
A gift of life insurance can provide an opportunity for a donor to create a larger gift than the money or assets actually donated and can generate significant tax savings for a donor. Donors can achieve this by surrendering an existing policy that is no longer needed (e.g., mortgage insurance, college tuition insurance) or by taking out a new policy and naming Ascent as both the owner and beneficiary.
When donating an old policy, the donor will receive a tax receipt for the fair market value of the life insurance policy. Ascent can either hold the policy and collect the full benefit at the death of the donor or can sell or surrender the policy at its current value.
If purchasing a new policy, the donor can name Ascent as both the irrevocable owner and the beneficiary of a death benefit. The donor can gift to Ascent the cost of the premium which the donor can take as a charitable contribution. Donors will receive a donation receipt for each premium payment, which is recorded as a gift in the year the premium payments were made. Ascent can sell or surrender the policy at cash value or hold onto the policy for the life of the donor and collect the full amount.
Facebook Birthday Fundraiser
If you are a Facebook member, then you know that Facebook now asks you if you would like to add a charity fundraiser to your page for your Birthday. It's as easy as saying yes and choosing the Ascent School for Individuals with Autism as your charity of choice. You can add a birthday fundraising goal amount. We recommend $250. We have found that combined donations often go above the Brithday person's fundraising goal listed. Friends often give just $5 or $10 to wish you a happy birthday, while supporting your charity of choice easily. All of the funds go directly to Ascent. Any amount makes your fundraiser a success!
Memorials & Tributes
Ascent can receive monetary gifts made in honor of a family member, friend, student or employee, or as a tribute to celebrate special moments like birthdays, anniversaries and graduations. A gift can also be given in memory of a loved one.
You can include Ascent in your estate plan by giving planned donations. Individuals can make a long-term gift to Ascent that will cost little to nothing now and can create income opportunities for you and your family. Planned donations are contributions that are made in the future but are prepared in the present. They are often expressed in a will or bequest.
If you are 70 ½ or older and have an IRA, you may make a tax-free direct donation from your IRA funds to Ascent and not have to pay income taxes on the money you withdraw from your IRA. This popular gift option is commonly called the IRA charitable rollover, but you may also see it referred to as a qualified charitable distribution, or QCD. The gift counts as a donor’s required minimum distribution (RMD), but is not included in the donor’s adjusted gross income (AGI). A tax-free transfer of up to $100,000 per year takes money out of your IRA, which can reduce future distributions. Since the gift does not count as income, it can reduce your annual income level and may help lower your Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax. To prevent the donation from inclusion in the AGI, the money must be transferred to Ascent and cannot be withdrawn. Ascent can also become a beneficiary of a 401(K) or 403(B).
Payable on Death (POD) Account
Ascent can become the beneficiary of a payable on death bank account or certificate of deposit. Donors can name one or two charities or persons as the beneficiary of the funds in your account. The owner of the account remains in complete control of the funds and is free to use the funds in the account until the donor passes away. Donors are free to change beneficiaries or close the account at any time.
Charitable Lead Trust
A charitable lead trust (also called a charitable income trust) is a trust in which the income interest from the trust is paid to Ascent and the remainder interest either reverts to the donor or is paid to Ascent at the termination of the trust. It enables a donor to create a direct annual charitable contribution. The donor places income producing assets in a trust and establishes a duration and ultimate beneficiary of the trust. The trust makes either a fixed amount donation or a percentage of the principal to Ascent for the term of the trust. At expiration, the assets revert back to the donor. Charitable lead trusts are funded with cash, stocks or real estate. Lead trusts are often used to offset gift taxes on intergenerational transfers of assets, offset estate taxes, and avoid tax on appreciation of transferred assets.
Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT)
A charitable remainder Trust is a gift that can generate a lifetime of income.
Donors can generate income while partnering with Ascent by creating a charitable remainder trust. A remainder trust is an irrevocable trust that pays income to you or another non-charitable beneficiary for life or for a specific term, up to 20 years, and then distributes the remaining assets to Ascent at the conclusion of the trust duration or the death of the beneficiary. CRTs generate income at favorable rates, eliminate initial capital gains tax, create a current income tax deduction and avoid estate taxes on contributed assets. The donor is eligible for a federal income tax charitable deduction based on a 1.2% charitable midterm federal rate. Charitable remainder trusts can be funded with cash, appreciated securities, closely held stock, real estate, retirement plan assets or tangible personal property.