by Mary Suplee on Nov 27, 2018
The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving is known as giving Tuesday. Many people will get email requests from charities seeking support for their causes. This is a good time to consider who you'd like to support and to what amount. Of course you're familiar with your alma mater or a religious organization to which you belong but if you’re solicited by an appeal from a charity not quite so familiar to you, it pays to check them out. You can use sources like Charity Navigator.org or the IRS's tax exempt organization search to get some background on the organizations you are considering.
Just as important as making sure the donees are worthy you should make sure that you give your gifts in the most tax efficient manner possible. For people who have already started taking required minimum distributions from qualified plans, direct gifts of RMDs (required minimum distributions) from a qualified plan are the most tax efficient charitable contributions you can make. You escape income tax on the required minimum distribution and get the full value as a tax deduction. Second, contributions of appreciated property are next in terms of effectiveness. Most organizations will allow you to donate appreciated shares of investments which avoids the capital gains for you and preserves the full deduction as well.