PG Calc Blog

The latest on planned giving from PG Calc.
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A Gift Annuity Is Not a Mortgage

A Gift Annuity Is Not a Mortgage

We occasionally receive calls from clients regarding questions about the best way to perform internal accounting for charitable gift annuities. As a split-interest charitable gift arrangement, the CGA represents both a gift to the charity and a financial obligation to the annuitant(s). On this much, there is general consensus, but on the manner in which the charity should compute the estimated remaining liability for each CGA over time, there are two main approaches. Given that the total funding minus the charitable deduction equals the total estimated liability at the outset of the gift arrangement, some organizations choose to record the incremental changes in liability as a sort of mortgage payment plan, or straight-line depreciation schedule. This method essentially amortizes the total estimated liability at the beginning and breaks that total down into regular and consistent annual amounts (sometimes even quarterly amounts). There is a fundamental problem with this approach; A gift annuity is NOT a mortgage.

Beware Dramatic Increases in Estimated Gift Annuity Liabilities

Beware Dramatic Increases in Estimated Gift Annuity Liabilities

[NOTE: The following is based on a true story.] Some of the numbers just didn’t make sense. It was that most wonderful time of the year for a non-profit organization – the closing of the June 30 fiscal year! Almost like Christmas in July, everyone was busy reviewing tally sheets and running various reports in an effort to provide comprehensive information about the gifts received over the previous 12 months. With outright gifts, of course, the process was fairly straightforward – whatever was received, for the most part, was counted with a few exceptions. With life income gifts, however, the process was a little more complicated, since the organization needs to report the total funding amount, the estimated liability, and the estimate of the charitable remainder.

Liabilities for Planned Gifts – Your Role

Many of our clients end their fiscal years on June 30. If you're one of them, you may have been requested to provide a report showing the liabilities associated with your organization's active planned gifts. If not, you may be, because Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) guidelines require all charities to include these liabilities in their annual financial statements.