Be Smart About the New Tax Law for your Charitable Giving

How the new tax law could affect your giving

As a valued community member, we wanted to inform you of how the new tax law could have implications for the tax-effectiveness of your charitable giving. There is a shrinking window of time that remains in 2017, and we are thinking about the coming years as well. As stewards of your philanthropy, we want to arm you with a few suggestions.

Charitable deductions have not changed
Deductions for charitable gifts have not changed. But, limitations have been placed on other deductions, possibly affecting whether you will, or will not, itemize in the future.

Not itemizing next year? You may want to pre-fund donations this year
If you currently itemize, and think you may not itemize next year because you will be taking advantage of the increased standard deduction, you may want to accelerate next year's giving into the next few days. Doing so would allow you to take full advantage of the tax deductibility available to you in 2017.

If you are losing access to certain deductions in 2018, you may want to increase charitable donations next year
If you are losing access to deductions related to state and local taxes (now capped at $10,000 and affecting many people in California), and to interest paid on larger mortgages (over $750,000), you may want to increase your giving in 2018, to philanthropic vehicles, such as Donor Advised Funds and private and supporting foundations. Increased giving may also be a way to manage exposure to Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), depending on your situation.

Consider a Federation Donor Advised Fund now or in 2018
You may want to consider opening a Donor Advised Fund, so you can front-load multiple years of giving into one year, whether it's this year or next. Our funds start with a minimum of a $5,000 deposit, which is often a donation of appreciated assets. This is a particularly tax-effective way to give. Our Donor Advised Fund team can be reached at 415.512.6205 or by email to the Director of the Federation's Donor Advised Fund program, Ruth Bender, at

Consult a tax professional
Depending on your situation, we recommend that you consult a tax professional about giving a few years' worth of donations now to ensure that you get a tax break for your generosity, or donate more next year into your Donor Advised Fund or foundation.

We don't offer tax advice, but want you to be aware of some general issues. In all cases, it is wise to consult tax professionals on any charitable decisions you make in the final days of this year and beyond.

We stand ready to help you with your philanthropic goals and priorities. Thank you for entrusting us with a role in your decision-making. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Sue Reinhold is the Federation's Managing Director of Philanthropy. You can contact her at 415.512.6202 or

Categories: Philanthropy


December 22, 2017


Sue Reinhold, Ph.D.