Real Estate: 6 Ways to DonateGet My Guide
Want to make a big gift to the Smithsonian Institution without touching your bank account? Consider giving us real estate. Such a generous gift helps us continue our research and discovery for years to come. And a gift of real estate also helps you. When you give us appreciated property you have held longer than one year, you qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction. This eliminates capital gains tax. And you no longer have to deal with that property's maintenance costs, property taxes or insurance.
Another benefit: You don't have to hassle with selling the real estate. You can deed the property directly to the Smithsonian or ask your attorney to add a few sentences in your will or trust agreement.
Contact the Office of Gift Planning at 888-419-7584 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the possibility of giving real estate to the Smithsonian.
Ways to Give Real Estate
You can give real estate to the Smithsonian in the following ways:
When you make a gift today of real estate you have owned longer than one year, you qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction equal to the property's full fair market value. This deduction lets you reduce the cost of making the gift and frees cash that otherwise would have been used to pay taxes. By donating the property to us, you also eliminate capital gains tax on its appreciation.
A gift of real estate through your will or living trust allows you the flexibility to change your mind and the potential to support our work with a larger gift than you could during your lifetime. In as little as one sentence or two, you can ensure that your support for the Smithsonian continues after your lifetime.
Perhaps you like the tax advantages a gift of real estate to our organization would offer, but you want to continue living in your personal residence for your lifetime. You can transfer your personal residence or farm to the Smithsonian but keep the right to occupy (or rent out) the home for the rest of your life. You continue to pay real estate taxes, maintenance fees and insurance on the property. Even though we would not actually take possession of the residence until after your lifetime, since your gift cannot be revoked, you qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction for a portion of your home's value.
You can contribute any type of appreciated real estate you've owned for more than one year, provided it's unmortgaged, in exchange for an income stream for life or a term of up to 20 years. The donated property may be a residence (a personal residence must be vacant upon contribution), undeveloped land, a farm, or commercial property. Real estate works well with only certain variations of charitable remainder trusts. Your estate planning attorney, who will draft your trust, can give you more details.
This gift can be a wonderful way for you to benefit the Smithsonian and simultaneously transfer appreciated real estate to your family tax-free. You should consider funding the charitable lead trust with real estate that is income-producing and expected to increase in value over the term of the trust.
A gift of real estate may be a perfect way to honor your loved one in perpetuity. When you make an endowed gift of real estate, your contribution is invested with and becomes part of our endowment. An annual distribution is made for the purpose you designate. Because the principal remains intact, the fund will generate support in perpetuity.
An Example of How It Works
Janet purchased a rental property years ago and has watched it grow steadily in value. Still active in her career and traveling frequently, she's beginning to find management of the property more and more of a hassle. At this stage of her life, Janet has decided to move to a 55+ condominium development, where all exterior maintenance is provided and she doesn't have to worry about security issues. Janet sees this as an opportunity to give her rental property to a charity that's important to her while realizing valuable tax benefits.
Janet avoids capital gains tax on the appreciation and qualifies for a federal income tax charitable deduction of $250,000, which is for the property's fair market value today. She is able to claim 30 percent of her $200,000 adjusted gross income, or $60,000, in the year of the gift. In the five years following, she can continue to use up the remaining $190,000 deduction. Janet is happy in her new condo and loves knowing that the gift of her property will make a big difference supporting our educational mission.