What is a Charitable Gift Annuity? The different types of Charitable Gift Annuities are: Immediate Annuity, Deferred Annuity, College Annuity and Flexible Annuity. Example of a how a Charitable Gift Annuity functions.
For some people, a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) is a convenient way to donate funds to an educational, religious or other charitable organization. A Charitable Gift Annuity works very similar to other annuities you might purchase through your insurance company, but in this case you will receive an annuity payment directly from the organization. Typically, you donate a monetary amount to the organization of your choice and then begin receiving payments either immediately or at a predetermined date in the future.
Donations to charities are subject to the charitable tax deduction, and you are entitled to make this deduction on your income tax return for each year you make a new donation. You can choose to receive your annuity payments yearly, quarterly, or monthly, although most people choose quarterly payments. Quarterly payments from a Charitable Gift Annuity are received on the last day of the quarter, not the first.
Similar to other annuity options, Charitable Gift Annuities are subject to state and federal regulations. The American Council on Gift Annuities (ACGA) sets uniform gift annuity rates for use by charitable organizations. These rates set the recommended limits for payout rates to the donor.
If a charity stays at or below these rates, they are not required to justify that their rates are within state regulatory laws. If the charity chooses rates above those set by the ACGA then an actuary is necessary to ensure compliance to the individual state laws. Rates are determined by the age of the annuitant and when the withdrawal period for the annuity begins.
A charity may spend a portion of a donation immediately but must retain enough money in its reserve to satisfy its annuity agreement with the donor. The agreement for Charitable Gift Annuities states that the annuitant will receive fixed payment amounts for their lifetime only and not an additional period of time thereafter for their beneficiaries.
This means that once an annuitant dies, payments cease and the remainder of the annuity is absorbed by the charity. The donor can opt to extend the annuity agreement to an additional annuitant, as with the joint and survivor or two lives in succession options, but the annuity payments will be split between the two individuals and will cease after both parties have died.
Different Types of Charitable Gift Annuities
Immediate Gift Annuity
If you choose an Immediate Gift Annuity, payments will begin in the payment period immediately following the final contribution date. As mentioned previously, the annuitant can choose to receive payments annually, quarterly, monthly, etc. Depending on when the contribution was made, you can request your first payment to be for the full, and not prorated amount.
Deferred Gift Annuity
With a Deferred Gift Annuity, the annuitant is allowed to receive payments at a future date predetermined by the donor. The date chosen must be at least one year from the contribution date, but the payout schedule offers the same flexibility as the Immediate Gift Annuity.
A parent or grandparent may want to establish a college fund for a child to offset the rising cost of higher education. In this case, they would donate money for a College Annuity which will only pay out over the lifetime of the child (annuitant). Payments usually begin at age eighteen, or when the child/annuitant is old enough to attend college. The annuitant may choose payments for life or receive larger payments spread out over the number of years they attend school.
A Flexible Annuity allows the annuitant to decide the starting date for payments. Usually the annuitant chooses retirement or another date of importance to begin receiving payments. Keep in mind that one factor for the annuity payment rate is age, so you will receive larger payments if you wait until you are older.
How does a Charitable Gift Annuity Work?
You may be asking how this works in a real life example. Let’s assume you just turned seventy-five and have $25,000 that you would like to donate to your alma mater as a Charitable Gift Annuity. You opt to receive immediate annuity payments on a yearly basis, and your calculated annuity rate is eight percent. Based on your annuity agreement with your alma mater, you will receive a payment for $2000 every year for the rest of your life, and an immediate tax deduction of over $9000!
This is only an estimate, and your actual deduction will vary according to changing tax laws and changing rates established by the ACGA. You should always consult with a knowledgeable financial advisor such as Estate Street Partners before donating or investing large sums of money to guarantee your rights are protected.
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