The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act — known as the CARES Act — was signed into law March 27, 2020. It directs aid to individuals, states, hospitals, and businesses, and includes several provisions that directly impacted charitable giving. Here’s a quick update:

Higher Deduction Limits for 2020 Tax Year and beyond:

  • You may claim an income tax charitable deduction of up to 100 percent of your adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash gifts made to public charities. (Previously, there was a deduction limit of 60 percent for cash gifts.)
  • Gifts of stock, real estate, or any other non-cash items are subject to the previous limits, generally 30 percent of cost basis.
  • The benefit does not extend to gifts made to donor advised funds, private foundations, or split interest trusts (charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, or pooled income funds). The legislation is ambiguous regarding cash-funded charitable gift annuities; consult your tax adviser.

Required Minimum Distribution Requirements (RMDs) from Qualified Retirement Plans

  • The age of taking mandatory minimum distributions is raised to 72.   These remain an exceedingly attractive incentive for making charitable contributions.
  • Please refer to the IRS publications on Charitable Contributions, Required Minimum Distributions, and Qualified Charitable Distributions, and check with your financial advisers to see how these rules apply to your plan and situation.

Charitable Deduction for Non-Itemizers

  • As revised in 2020, even taxpayers who do not itemize can claim a tax benefit up to $300 for outright cash gifts or cash gifts to charitable gift annuities (CGAs) made to public charities.
  • The new deduction is not available for gifts to donor advised funds, private foundations, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, or pooled income funds.
  • This “above-the-line deduction” is permanent and will not expire unless additional legislation is passed.

Contact Us and Your Advisers  The CARES Act is extensive and includes numerous provisions that could benefit you financially. Consult your advisers about these provisions, and contact us if we can help you with any gift-planning opportunities.