Christmas Update

Greetings! I trust you’re doing well and enjoying the Advent season. The idea that God would provide His own Son to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves is overwhelming. Let’s show the world what an amazing gift this is by being joyful each and every day!

The purpose of this update is to give you a mid-month update on the Kyiv Theological Seminary Matching Grant opportunity and answer a few more questions.The great news is that we have received commitments of just over $190,000 towards the matching grant.

While this is wonderful news, it poses a real challenge to complete the matching grant by the end of the year. Therefore, I have already contacted the donors and have their support to include all contributions made through March 31, 2018 in the match. The donors have already made the commitment to the KTS projects and want to see it maximized.

A quick Q&A:

Q. Are there ways to help with the match in addition to making a personal gift?

A. Absolutely! My personal network is pretty small so I could really use the help to get the word out. If you give me ideas with names and/or organizations, I would be glad to follow-up. Better, I would ask you to forward a link to the Friends of KTS and the KTS websites along with a personal note. It would be especially helpful if you could encourage your local church or any of the seminaries that have a vested interest in KTS. I do not have foundation contact information for Dallas Seminary or Biola University. As of this week, I have a new printed brochure that can be downloaded or mailed to anyone not using email. All ideas welcome!

Q: A new tax bill seems imminent. What does this mean to a potential contributor?

A: This is a multi-faceted issue that could really impact how one plans for charitable giving.

  1. The standard deduction will double to $24,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return. It might make more sense to time charitable giving to every other year so you would use the standard deduction one year and itemize the next.
  2. The proposed new tax rates will be lower for individuals starting in 2018. That will diminish the tax benefit of giving so giving more in 2017 might be better stewardship.
  3. The estate tax exemption will be doubled. This could reduce the incentive for taxpayers to make charitable giving as part of their estate planning.
  4. The stock market is at all time highs. This may present an opportunity to give the stock to charity. The donor gets a deduction for the full value of the stock and eliminates the capital gains on the sale of the stock.
  5. The use of “donor-advised” funds is seeing significant growth. The donor-advised funds allows the taxpayer to make contributions (cash or assets) to a special account. The donor then has the ability to “advise” the disbursement of these funds to charities over time. A taxpayer could use these funds to maximize the timing of charitable gifts for the donor (see #1) and still be able to provide annual support for supported ministries.
  6. Required minimum distributions (RMD) for taxpayers 70 and over can be directed to charity, thus avoiding the need to pay taxes on the RMD.
  7. As always, consult with your tax advisor before making any tax-related decisions and each person’s situation is unique.

I will update you again at the end of the month. In the interim, my prayer is that you have a wonderfully meaningful Christmas season!

… Greg


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