If you would prefer to give by mail, download this Donation Sheet and mail to:
Better Billings Foundation
PO Box 50489
Billings, MT 59105
CASH & CASH equivalents
If you itemize your deductions on your personal federal income tax return, you may take a charitable gift deduction for the amount of your charitable gift of cash and cash equivalents (certificates of deposit, savings bonds, money market fund, etc.) up to 50% of your adjusted gross income. If you can’t take the entire deduction in the first year because of the limitation, you may carry the balance forward into the next five years.
PUBLICLY TRADED SECURITIES
You can transfer ownership of appreciated securities owned for at least one year to the Better Billings Foundation and receive a deduction for the average value of the security on the day of the transfer. When the security is sold, neither you nor the BBF will have to pay capital gains tax. You receive the benefit of having your gift valued at fair market value, including the appreciation, for the purpose of determining your charitable deduction.
For these long-term capital assets, you may claim an income tax charitable gift deduction for the year in which the gift is made. If you can’t deduct the full fair market value of the gift in the first year, you may carry the balance forward over the next five years. If the securities have been owned less than one year, the charitable deduction is based on your cost basis in the security.
CLOSELY HELD SECURITIES
For owners of closely held securities, such as Sub-Chapter S Corporations (S Corps) stock, it is possible for companies to give S Corps stock, and for private and community foundations to own S Corps stock. There are limitations that accompany ownership of such stock, and the Better Billings Foundation’s gift acceptance guidelines and professional council would be consulted whether or not to accept this type of gift.
LIFE INSURANCE PROCEEDS
By designating the Better Billings Foundation as the beneficiary of a new or existing life insurance contract, you can make a significantly larger charitable gift than may be possible out of your current assets. If you chose to make the BBF owner of the contract, you can deduct the premiums as you pay them. Or, if you would rather retain the right to change beneficiaries on the contract and don’t desire the deduction of the premiums, you can remain owner of the contract and simply name the BBF as partial, sole or contingent beneficiary.
Personal property, such as artwork, cars, clothing and jewelry, can be given to the Better Billings Foundation and deducted as a charitable contribution at its fair market value. But unless the BBF will either use the property to further its stated mission, or transfer the property to another individual consistent with the mission and vision of the Foundation, you can deduct only your cost basis, not the fair market value, of the property. (Note: It is important to ask the BBF whether or not your gift will be used in connection with our stated mission.) The Foundation does not provide you a value of your donation, if desired, that would be up to the donor to acquire an independent appraisal. In the case of vehicles, additional rules may require a determination of value.
You can make outright gifts of real estate to the Better Billings Foundation. If you have owned the donated property for at least one year, like with securities, both you and the charity can avoid paying capital gains taxes on the appreciation in the value of the property. Outright gifts of real estate will often result in an income tax deduction equal to the fair market value of the property, as determined by appraisal, but there are some situations where this may be reduced.
It’s possible to make a gift of your personal residence, vacation home, or farm to a charity and retain a "life estate" in the property, allowing you to retain rights to live in, use, or rent out the property until your death. You deed the property directly to the BBF subject to your retained life estate, receive an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the appraised fair market value, and have the comfort of knowing that the property will be excluded from probate.
If the donated real estate is a long-term capital asset, you may claim an income tax charitable gift deduction for the donation If you can’t deduct the full fair market value of the gift in the first year, you may carry the balance forward for the next five years.
Distributions from certain kinds of retirement assets — such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs), tax-sheltered annuities, and 401(k) and 403(b) plans — are subject to income tax and may be subject to generation-skipping taxes and estate taxes. However, gifts of these assets in the current year will not be taxed if they are paid directly to a charity as beneficiary. You can designate all or a certain percentage of your retirement assets to go to charity. By doing so, you are not required to recognize as income the distribution, nor are you allowed the charitable contribution. This is valuable because by reducing your income, other valuable deductions may become deductible that were not otherwise deductible due to income limitations. Further, this can be a valuable tool in meeting your required minimum distribution (RMD) for the tax year without increasing your income. It is important that you seek professional services to determine how your retirement asset distributions will be affected by naming a charity as a beneficiary.
IN-KIND GIFTS & PRO BONO SERVICES
In addition to cash contributions, your company can donate services or supplies to the Better Billings Foundation — often referred to as "in-kind" gifts — or offer their services on a free "pro bono" basis. Many companies have products that can be used by the BBF, including products from current inventory, obsolete merchandise, returned or slightly damaged goods, computers, or office furniture and equipment. The BBF can also benefit from services provided by a company or its employees, such as printing, legal representation, professional services, or publication design.
A company’s charitable donation of its products can qualify for a charitable deduction. However, limitations exist on what and how much can be deducted. The rules are complicated and require careful prior analysis by corporate or outside counsel. The value of staff time donated to a nonprofit organization is not deductible, although out-of-pocket expenses (gas, mileage, meals, etc.) for such volunteer work can be deducted within certain limits.
EMPLOYER MATCHING PROGRAMS
One excellent way to increase your contribution to the Better Billings Foundation is to check with your employer to see if they have matching gift program. Some companies will match up to 3 to 1 for each dollar gifted to charitable cause if the mission of the organization aligns with that of the employer matching gift program.
In addition to giving dollars to charity, another important way to assist fulfilling the mission of the Better Billings Foundation is to give your time. We are in great need of capable, committed volunteers, and your volunteer contributions can leverage the financial contributions you and others make to an organization. Some companies will compensate their employee for their volunteer time given to charity. Check with your employer for specifics about these and other charitable programs they may provide.