Holiday-inspired generosity and the desire to reduce tax liability makes the end of the year a busy time for charitable giving. According to Network for Good and other sources, approximately 30% of charitable gifts are made in December alone. For not-for-profits, an important part of processing these donations is sending thank-you letters that acknowledge donor gifts.

a note card with the word "thanks" sits on a wooden table with a black marker; image used for blog post about not-for-profits acknowledging donor gifts

To ensure your letters contain everything they should, here’s a refresher course.


Continue Reading The Importance of Acknowledging Donor Gifts

The PKF Texas not-for-profit team hosted its next Zoom webinar, “Forging Ahead: Planning Your Fundraising and Investment for 2021.” Once again, PKF Texas Audit Senior Manager, Nicole Riley, CPA, CFE, moderated a panel, which included Ryan McCauley, Regional Director of Foundation & Institutional Advisory, Northern Trust; and Sara Wise, Senior Consultant, Mission Advancement.

Thumbnail image spotlighting Nicole Riley, Ryan McCauley and Sara Wise for PKF Texas' Zoom webinar “Forging Ahead: Planning Your Fundraising and Investment for 2021"

With 2021

As we head toward the gift-giving season, you may be considering giving gifts of cash or securities to your loved ones. Taxpayers can transfer substantial amounts free of gift taxes to their children and others each year through the use of the annual federal gift tax exclusion. The amount is adjusted for inflation annually. For 2019, the exclusion is $15,000.

long shiny red ribbon tied tied on top of white wrapping paper with red and green holiday season messages, symbolizing gift tax rules

The exclusion covers gifts that you make to each person each year. Therefore, if you have three children, you can transfer a total of $45,000 to them this year (and next year) free of federal gift taxes. If the only gifts made during the year are excluded in this way, there’s no need to file a federal gift tax return. If annual gifts exceed $15,000, the exclusion covers the first $15,000 and only the excess is taxable. Further, even taxable gifts may result in no gift tax liability thanks to the unified credit (discussed below).

Note: this discussion isn’t relevant to gifts made from one spouse to the other spouse, because these gifts are gift tax-free under separate marital deduction rules.


Continue Reading Here are the Gift Tax Exclusion Rules…

Restricted gifts — or donations with conditions attached — can be difficult for not-for-profits to manage. Unlike unrestricted gifts, these donations can’t be poured into your general operating fund and be used where they’re most needed. Instead, restricted gifts generally are designated to fund a specific program or initiative, such as a building or scholarship fund.

It’s not only unethical, but dangerous, not to comply with a donor’s restrictions. If donors learn you’ve ignored their wishes, they can demand the money back and sue your organization. And your reputation will almost certainly take a hit. Rather than take that risk, try to encourage your donors to give with no strings attached.


Continue Reading How to Persuade Donors to Remove “Restricted” from Gifts