If your organization is registered to issue gift annuities in New York, be sure that completion of the Annual Statement form (due March 1) is on your “to do” list. Unlike many states, where the filing is based on fiscal year end, the NY deadline is the same for all organizations. If you haven’t already done so, the 2014 form is available for download on the New York state website. One notable change this year: the reserve listing, which includes information on all annuities, must be filed in PDF form by all organizations (and also in Excel form for NY-based charities), but no longer needs to be filed in hard copy.
The question of why charities need the donor’s cost basis for long-term appreciated stocks funding charitable gift annuities (CGAs) comes up frequently in our client support calls. If the donor doesn’t provide the information up front, do they really need to pursue it? What if the donor says he doesn’t have the cost basis information? Can the charity simply assume zero for the cost basis and call it a day? What difference does it make anyway? Why it matters PG Calc’s Planned Giving Manager prompts the user to supply the dollar amount the donor paid for the stock when it was originally acquired – or, in the case of inherited stocks, the official value of the stock on the date of death of the previous owner (AKA the “stepped-up” cost basis).* This information is relevant and necessary because charitable gift annuities are split-interest gift arrangements. In each CGA, there is a benefit for the charity (the remainder or residuum), and a benefit for the annuitant (the value of the stream of annuity payments over time).
I learned recently of a donor who left money to charity in a manner that made it seem like she wanted to establish a so-called “college annuity” for her seven-year-old granddaughter. The applicable bequest language indicated that the annuity would begin “on or about July 30 of the year the beneficiary attains the age 19 years, and the payment shall continue for a term of 5 years.” If perhaps you’re not familiar with the college annuity, it’s a deferred charitable gift annuity established for the life of a young child, with the deferral period ending – and payments beginning – when the child is age 18 or 19. Shortly after the annuity is established, the child’s guardian (usually a parent) exercises a right explicitly reserved in the gift annuity agreement to commute the lifetime payments into a stream of payments made over the course of only four or five years. Because the present value of the lifetime payments must equal the present value of the commuted payments at the time the commutation provision is exercised, each commuted payment is quite a bit larger than each lifetime payment would have been.
A gift annuity funded by a married couple with their separate property can create unexpected tax issues. This article examines the tax consequences of such a gift, how to properly plan such a gift, and how to avert problems with this common gift structure.
An organization generally commits to launching a gift annuity program after research and planning is presented to the Board for approval. Planning may be done by a Board or staff member, volunteer, or consultant. Some organizations wait until all components of the program have been decided before issuing their first annuity. Others close their first gift, then create their gift administration plan. Most charities do some planning to get started and work out the rest later.