Ben Franklin said “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” And, while that was some 250-ish years ago, nothing, still, is more certain. So, as year-end approaches, you may want to give some thought to gifts and charitable donations.
In 2013, Congress made some changes including upping the annual gift tax exclusion to $14,000 per gift, individually. In other words, these gifts can be given to an unlimited number of recipients (up to a specific amount in your lifetime) and are free of federal gift tax consequences. The lifetime gift tax exemption to $5.43 million, meaning that all of your gifts can amount to that much over your entire life time before any gift tax is due.
Gifts and donations not only help individuals, organizations, and charities achieve their goals, but your gift may help you lower tax bill in April. Whenever I have the opportunity to give, I’m reminded of this viral video of Texas-native and published author George Saunders in 2013 speaking to Syracuse graduates on the topic of regret. In his speech, he mentioned that his own biggest regrets in life are moments he considers “failures of kindness.”
These failures of kindness are moments where the author believed he could have been kinder, more generous, and more thoughtful. Saunders says that living selfishly is easy, but it gets in the way of pure kindness and love. And while there is a natural selfishness in achieving dreams, ambitions, and goals, we can be more thoughtful: achieving unselfishly, erring on the side of thoughtfulness.
So, as you begin to look forward to the upcoming holidays, spending time with family and sharing joys and cheers, think about spreading some of that love to others through what I’ll call “triumphs of kindness”, such as gifts and charitable donations.
Note: There are multiple ways of gifting. For more details, please contact your advisor at Financial Synergies and we will come up with the best solution for you and your family.