You undoubtedly are aware that among the changes found in the new tax law is a doubling of the lifetime exemption for federal gift, estate, and generation skipping transfer taxes. This doubling is effective January 1, 2018 and is set to expire December 31, 2025.
Clocking in at 503 pages, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reported out of Conference Committee on December 15 is expected to be voted on by the House and Senate this week and presented to President Trump for his signature by December 22. While it is still possible that changes to the bill could be made at this late date, or that it might be delayed or not pass at all, it appears highly likely that it will pass as is before the end of this week. In the discussion below, we review the particulars of the law that are of most interest to fundraisers, as well as some provisions of interest to fundraisers that did not make it into the Conference version or made it in in altered form.
Our Client Services staff regularly takes client calls that go something like this: Client: I think your software is giving me the wrong deduction. PG Calc Client Services: Can you please explain what you mean? Client: Sure. My donor is 75 years old, so her life expectancy is 11.1 years using the 2000CM mortality table. I know the deduction calculation uses the 2000CM table but when I compute the deduction for a 5% unitrust with a fixed term of 11.1 years, I get a lower deduction than when I compute the deduction for the same unitrust that lasts for my donor’s lifetime. That doesn’t make sense! It does, actually. Let me explain.
Annuity 2000. 2012 IAR. 1983 Basic. 2000CM. Perhaps you are familiar with one or more of these terms. They are the names of mortality tables that are important to planned giving calculations of one kind or another. With so many different mortality tables in play, it’s no wonder that gift planners get confused about which table is used for what purpose and why . . . to the extent that they think about them at all. To help dispel the confusion, I briefly describe below what a mortality table is and the specific use and characteristics of the four mortality tables that gift planners need to be most aware of.
A 70 year-old wants to fund a 5% charitable remainder unitrust with $500,000. If he receives payments for the rest of his life, he gets a charitable deduction of $261,815. On the other hand, if he chooses to receive payments for exactly his life expectancy of 14.2 years, he gets a deduction of $244,060. Strange. Why aren’t the two numbers the same?