Ways to Give

Our mission at St. Thomas is to make God’s love known by who we are, what we practice and how we serve others in Christ’s Name.

Annual Giving Pledges & Online Giving

Annual pledges allow our parish to accurately budget and plan ministry priorities and resources gracefully. Every dollar is honored, valued, and is carefully spent. Everyone’s contribution is a great blessing and matters greatly. St. Thomas continues to grow in numbers and vibrancy because of the generosity and commitment of our congregation with our time, talent and treasure.

Our secure system, Realm, allows you to set up your pledge and pledge payments, manage payment methods, review your giving history, as well as contribute one-time offerings toward the ministries of your choice. You may choose to have these contributions automatically withdrawn from your bank account, or charged to your credit or debit card. You can use this method to pre-authorize payments on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.

Last Minute 2020 Tax Deduction

Due to changes in the tax laws over the last several years, most taxpayers no longer benefit from an
income tax deduction for charitable contributions. But for this year ONLY, taxpayers can take a
charitable income tax deduction of up to $300. This applies to those who otherwise would not be
able to take an income tax deduction.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was enacted this past spring
allows individuals who use the standard deduction on their federal income tax returns (and therefore would not otherwise be able to deduct charitable donations) to take a tax deduction for charitable
contributions made in 2020 up to this amount.

Therefore, a tax tip may be to make your contribution to St. Thomas before year end. If you are not
able to take a charitable income tax deduction for contributions you will make in 2021, you may
consider making a 2021 pledge payment or other contribution by December 31 (as St. Thomas does
accept pledge payments made in advance) to take advantage of this unique 2020 income tax benefit.
The contribution must be a cash gift that can be made with a check, as an electronic funds transfer,
or via a credit card paid directly to St. Thomas.

If you would like more information, please check with your tax professional and/or contact me at
chriswhite@cinci.rr.com or (513) 265-8100.

Kroger Community Rewards Program

This program makes fundraising easy by donating to local organizations based on the shopping you do every day. Once you link your Card to an organization, all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Shopper’s Card.  Any transactions moving forward using the Shopper’s Card number associated with your digital account will be applied to the program, at no added cost to you. Kroger donates annually to participating organizations based on your percentage of spending as it relates to the total spending associated with all participating Kroger Community Rewards organizations.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Kroger.com
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and find COMMUNITY
  3. Click on Kroger Community Rewards
  4. Follow the instructions on this page to link your current shopper’s card to St. Thomas Episcopal Church – Terrace Park.

Tax Deductible Charitable Contributions

Due to tax law changes of a couple of years ago, it has become increasingly harder for taxpayers to get an income tax deduction for payouts including donations to charity.  This tax law change effectively doubled the standard deduction, which means that most donors are not able to benefit from charitable contributions.

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed many elements of our lives.  The sweeping tax legislation in response to COVID-19 was the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, known as the CARES Act.  This law allows taxpayers who use the standard deduction to take a charitable income tax deduction of up to $300 in cash in 2020, on top of their standard income tax deduction. 

Your tax advisor can provide more guidance on this or you can contact us with questions or for more details.

Donor Advised Funds for Charitable Contributions

Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) are not all that new, but their popularity has increased significantly in the last few years.  They work like someone’s own personal foundation and charitable savings account, and the IRS regards DAFs as a charitable organization for charitable income tax deduction purposes.  Most investment companies offer a DAF. 

An individual or family opens a Donor Advised Fund.  They then transfer appreciated stocks, bonds, and/or cash into their DAF.  They can make multiple transfers over time, even over a period of years.  The balance in the DAF can be invested for growth.  From their DAF, they can direct that distributions be made to their selected charitable organizations in amounts as little as $50. 

The popularity of DAFs has resulted from an income tax reduction strategy that became more useful with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  This legislation essentially doubled the standard income tax deduction, which had made itemized deductions such as charitable contributions less likely to be effectively deductible.  This strategy involves establishing and funding DAF with several years of charitable contributions.  In this particular year, one may be able to benefit from the charitable income tax deduction by itemizing such deductions on one’s income tax return.  In the subsequent years, this taxpayer takes the relatively high standard deduction and directs that charitable distributions are made.  This arrangement gives the taxpayer the ability to benefit from both the charitable deductions and the standard deductions in the following years.

An individual that may benefit from this strategy should consult with their tax advisor, because as most provisions in the tax code, there may be other considerations that should be evaluated.

Qualified Charitable Distribution

For an individual, at least age 70½, an attractive income tax reduction technique is available for making contributions to St. Thomas directly from one’s IRA.  A big tax benefit to this is the taxpayer can exclude such an IRA distribution from one’s taxable income.  Another significant benefit is the IRA distribution counts toward one’s yearly required minimum distributions, which converts these otherwise taxable payouts to non-taxable IRA distributions. 

The rules state that one can transfer up to $100,000 annually from an IRA directly to a charity or multiple charities without having to first count the distribution(s) as taxable income.  There is no minimum transfer amount under these rules.  (Taxpayers who itemize their deductions will not be entitled to a charitable income tax deduction for this type of IRA transfer because of the tax free nature of the distribution.)

There are details that must be complied with in order to attain these income tax benefits, including such distributions must be paid directly from the IRA (not a pension plan or employer sponsored retirement plan) to the selected charitable entity.  Charities that do not qualify under this provision include donor advised funds, private foundations, and supporting organizations.  But St. Thomas does, in fact qualify as a charitable recipient under this rule!

As is the case with many tax rules, the details matter so the first step in the process is the IRA owner should contact his or her tax professional to evaluate the strategy’s appropriateness and effectiveness.  Next, the individual should initiate the process by reaching out to the financial advisor or trustee of the IRA.  The advisor will require a written request, either as an instruction letter or using one of their forms.  (Though permitted, it is generally not advised that such distributions are made from Roth IRAs since in most cases no income tax benefits will be realized.) 

We can provide written instructions of how such an IRA transfer to St. Thomas should be executed.  The donor or the financial advisor can contact Becky Fugate (bfugate@stthomasepiscopal.org) and/or Susan Maruca (smaruca@stthomasepiscopal.org) for these instructions.

If you have additional questions, please contact me at chriswhite@cinci.rr.com or (513) 265-8100. 

Benefits of Gifting Appreciated Stock

Aside from how much donors think about giving, one of the biggest considerations is what to give.  Cash is always appreciated by charities, but donating appreciated assets such as company stock can often be a bigger benefit to the donor.

Stock gifts, or other assets that have increased in value, avoid the capital gains tax that would otherwise be imposed if the stock were sold by the owner.  But if this same appreciated asset were gifted, the charity as the new owner is not subject to the capital gains tax, or generally any other form of income tax. 

Many financial advisors advocate donating stock instead of cash.  In addition to the tax avoidance advantage, it can help to reduce a holding in an investment account that may be more beneficial for the donor.

The gifting of appreciated assets is only beneficial from non-retirement accounts.  Individuals should check with their financial or tax advisor to see if this makes sense for them.

St. Thomas has an account established specifically to accept gifts of stock.  You can contact Becky Fugate (bfugate@stthomasepiscopal.org) and/or Susan Maruca (smaruca@stthomasepiscopal.org) for instructions or for more information.

Chris White, CFP®