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Who Makes Charitable Gifts and Why?

Given the numerous recent proposals for the limitation of charitable deductions, now may be a good time to stop and consider just how important state and federal taxation are to clients’ philanthropic decisions.

Every gift is comprised of five elements: (1) Who makes it? (2) Why is it made? (3) What’s given? (4) When is it given? and (5) How is the gift structured?

We spend a lot of time discussing the latter three elements, but it may be wise to step back and explore the “who” and “why” of charitable gifts.

Who Makes Gifts?

It’s estimated that over 80 percent of Americans support one or more charities each year. Some 36.4 million taxpayers reported making charitable gifts totaling $194 billion in 2013, the most recent year for which statistics are available. Itemized charitable gifts have averaged 80 percent of total individual giving for many years.

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