Gift Planning Services Manager’s Minute
Peace Comes Through the Savior
As 2020 draws to a close, we look back on the unique challenges we have experienced this year. Many of us, including my family, were directly impacted by COVID-19, and all of us experienced economic, social, and other disruptions to our lives. As if COVID-19 wasn’t enough, we have also experienced earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, riots, political unrest, and other calamities. It’s been a tough year!
In the words of President Russell M. Nelson, “These are the latter days, so none of us should be surprised when we see prophecy fulfilled” (“Joy and Spiritual Survival,” Ensign, November 2016).
I love a particular interchange between the wise wizard Gandalf and brave Frodo Baggins in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
Even in the most difficult and darkest of times, there is light and goodness all around us. Consider these words from President Thomas S. Monson:
This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.
We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that “gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” [“The Divine Gift of Gratitude,” Ensign, November 2010; quoting Cicero, in A New Dictionary of Quotations on Historical Principles, sel. H. L. Mencken (1942), 491]
The Gift Planning Services team is grateful for your friendship and for the service you render the Gift Planning Council and the clients you help so faithfully and well. Thank you for being an integral part of the work of Philanthropies and the charities we represent. Thank you for being “right and good” in these challenging times.
Earlier this year, Bishop W. Christopher Waddell addressed the Philanthropies organization and shared the following verse from 2 Nephi:
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy. [verse 25]
Bishop Waddell then shared the verse that follows, which tells us why men might have joy:
And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. [verse 26]
As we celebrate Christmas at the conclusion of a difficult year, perhaps more than ever we can remember that peace comes from and through Him whose birth we commemorate and rejoice in this season.
Merry Christmas! Our prayers to you and yours for a successful and happy 2021!
2021 Annual Gift Planning Conference
Watch for more details soon!
Linda Thorne Spotlight
Please share some of your background and tell us about your practice.
I was born and raised in West Covina, California. I served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hong Kong and absolutely loved it! After my mission I attended BYU and graduated with a master of accountancy in taxation and a JD in 1993. I practice as a CPA in tax compliance work and do most any type of tax return or tax planning. I am not an estate planner, nor do I practice law anymore. I realized some years ago that I went to law school because I saw too many episodes of L.A. Law back in the ’80s!
My CPA practice is focused on tax work for small business and individuals. I seem to have a large number of older couples and widows as clients. These cute older couples and widows find out that my mother lived with me for seven years, and that seems to be something they like! I enjoy making my clients laugh and helping them solve problems. I live and practice in Broomfield, Colorado, but have clients in many of the western states. I still maintain my Utah CPA license and am an “inactive” member of the Utah bar.
Why you are involved with the Gift Planning Council?
John A. Warnick invited me to attend my first Gift Planning Council Conference about five years ago. I had been referred to John as a CPA who might be willing to help one of his estate planning clients “catch up” on unfiled tax returns. We had to reconstruct records on several rental properties and then prepare federal and state tax returns for the seven previous years. We also prepared gift tax returns for the years that the client had created CRUTs. I have returned to the Gift Planning Council Conference because the classes are so interesting! They are much better than your standard tax class! (Read more)
Charitable Planning with Appreciated Property
By Brent A. Andrewsen
It’s that time of year when people are thinking about gift giving (and some even get focused on gift receiving). Whether we dream of Red Ryder BB guns or the latest technological advancements, we all hope there will be something under the Christmas tree for us. In the world of charitable giving, donors wish for tax deductions and tax avoidance, while charities hope for funds they can use to advance their charitable mission. When it comes to simplicity, cash is king, but donors usually derive better tax benefits by gifting appreciated assets. If a charity is willing and able to accept such gifts and, under the right circumstances, both the donor’s and the charity’s interests align, the donor achieves significant tax benefits and the charity ends up with the funds it wants and needs.
The Church maintains policies and procedures that allow it (and its affiliates) to receive what are sometimes referred to as “complex assets.” Such assets include real estate, artwork and historical artifacts, public securities and closely held business interests, insurance policies, and other types of assets. The primary reason donors donate such assets has to do with the tax treatment associated with such donations.
Using appreciated stock as an example, generally the donor gets a fair market value deduction for the contribution of the stock, and the charity can then sell the stock and pay no capital gains. This creates a double benefit to the donor - the deduction and the tax avoidance.
Because the donor gets a fair market value deduction, the donor wants the value to be the highest possible value at the time of his or her gift. Therefore, these gifts usually occur fairly close in time to the date of a sale. In the case of publicly traded stock, the charity usually liquidates the stock within a day or two of the donation. In the case of privately held stock, the donor usually negotiates a sale of the stock or the assets of the company prior to the donation. As will be discussed below, it is important that the donor make a donation before there is a signed agreement for the sale of the stock or a definitive agreement between the company and the buyer, in the case of an asset purchase transaction. (Read more)
COVID-19 and Philanthropies
Due to the current COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) situation, Philanthropies has temporarily restricted access to our offices for the public through at least January 2021. The Gift Planning Services team will be working from our homes, so please feel free to continue reaching out to us through our normal phone numbers and e-mail addresses. We hope you, your families, and your clients will continue to be safe and healthy. You are in our thoughts and prayers!