/// Consult the Lord about giving

We’ve all heard people sometimes say, “Let me pray about that,” when trying to make a decision. If we were all totally honest, what people mean when they use that phrase is really, “I’m just saying that to get you to go away.” Seriously, take the time to talk to the Lord about your year-end giving.

Like an old time prayer warrior in his prayer closet, who wore holes in the carpet and the knees of his clothing seeking God—pray that seriously. I knew a couple who had planned to buy a new dining room suite, but after praying, decided what the Lord wanted them to do with the money was to give a year-end gift. The amount of your gift may be small or large, but first, consult the Lord.

/// Consult your tax professional

He can help you make the most of your gift in order to avoid costly mistakes. Such planning must take into account each taxpayer’s particular circumstances and objectives. Some gifts have time factors that require more than a day or one phone call to accomplish. Plan ahead so that you develop a tax-saving plan that most efficiently meets your needs and factors in the latest tax rules relating to giving to a charity, like the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO).

Charitable donations can be one of the most powerful tax-saving tools because you’re in control of the timing and amount of your gift. Generally, annual deduction limits are high—20 percent, 30 percent or 50 percent of your Adjusted Gross Income, depending on what you’re giving and whether the recipient of your gift is a private foundation or 501(c)3 non-profit like the BGCO. Remember, no floor applies.

If you have owned appreciated assets for more than a year, such as mutual funds or shares of stock, consider donating those instead of cash. You can generally claim a charitable deduction for the full market value at the time of the donation and avoid the hit of capital gains tax. If some of your stocks are worth less now than what you paid for them, don’t donate them to a charity. Rather, sell the stock and give the cash proceeds to a charity. That way, you can generally deduct the full amount of the cash donation while reserving the tax-saving capital loss for yourself. Again, you will want to check with your attorney, tax professional or CPA, as every person’s tax situation is different. And certainly don’t forget, if you have a Donor Advised Fund or a Private Foundation and you want to give money before the end of the year, please consider granting out of your account to the BGCO.

When we add in the outstanding pledges and the remaining Downing matching funds, the BGCO only needs $307,000 to complete Phase I of the Falls Creek Centennial Campaign and be debt free by the 100th anniversary of Falls Creek in 2017.

For more information on making a year-end gift contact 405/942-3800, ext. 4559.