Year-end checklist for Advisors

By Evan Lange 1 week ago.

The leaves and the weather are changing, so that means it is time to start year-end planning sessions with your clients. Take some extra time this fall to consider some of these simple year-end charitable and tax-planning strategies:

Bunch a bunch

Because of the 2017 tax law changes, several clients may not have enough itemized deductions to surpass the 2019 standard deduction threshold ($12,200 for individuals and $24,400 for married couples filing jointly). However, clients can maximize their deductions by doubling or tripling up charitable contributions one year and skipping the next year(s). This strategy is referred to as “bunching” (several other cute names too). Consider using a donor advised fund to hold charitable contributions and distribute funds over the course of the next years.  Learn more.

Assess assets

Gifting non-cash assets can help clients pay fewer taxes, improve cash flow, and provide greater charitable impact! Complex assets contributions include real estate, privately held business interests (S-corp, C-corp, LLC), and much more. Gifting assets will maximize charitable deductions (usually fair market value of the asset), and if the asset is sold, avoid long-term capital gains tax.  All of these assets can be given easily through a donor advised fund with The Signatry and then funs to be granted out to charities over several years.

Evaluating election

As we near closer into an election year, changes in stock markets and potential taxes could also be on the horizon.  Therefore, do not wait to gift highly appreciated stock and other publically traded securities, do it NOW! Stock markets are still at record highs, and year-end tax planning strategies should also consider rebalancing strategies.  Instead of gifting cash in Q4, give stock before the markets and political climate changes!

Give gratitude

Giving at year-end is more than just saving taxes.  Give out of the heart of gratitude for what God gave us – His only son, Jesus.  The end of the year can be a stressful time, wrapping up year-end tax strategies, gearing up for the holidays, and looking ahead to a new year.  However, stop and say ‘thank you’ to God for He has abundantly given to us.

The end of year season can be a busy one for advisors and tax professionals. I encourage you to start talking to your clients about their end of year decisions now. For a full list of key dates and reminders, check out our 2019 Year-End Giving Guide.

Evan Lange
Evan Lange Serving as President of the Midwest Region for The Signatry, Evan works with advisors, attorneys, and business owners to minimize taxes and maximize charitable giving.

Join the conversation. Get the newsletter.