Whether you’d like to give away several thousand bushels of soybeans or a prehistoric fossil, there just might be a charity that’s willing to receive it.
Year-end tends to be a busy time for individuals who are in a giving mood. Donors seeking a break on their 2018 taxes must make their charitable contributions before Dec. 31.
Keep in mind that it’s also harder to take the deduction for charitable giving, as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has roughly doubled the standard deduction to $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for married couples who file jointly and limited certain itemized deductions, including a break for state and local taxes.
As a result, fewer people are expected to itemize in 2018 and fewer individuals will qualify to claim their charitable donations on their taxes.
For those who can itemize, cash donations and highly appreciated stocks often are the items generous filers want to give away. However, these aren’t the only things charitable organizations are willing to take.
For instance, Fidelity Charitable received close to $1 billion in so-called complex assets in 2017.
“Complex assets are basically what isn’t traded publicly, including private shares, bitcoin, real estate and bags of corn,” said Amy Pirozzolo, vice president at Fidelity Charitable.
“If you have stuff in your house you can’t wait to get rid of, you think it’s the most valuable thing in the world.”
This year, a farmer had a bumper crop of soybeans and made a gift of 3,400 bushels to his Fidelity donor-advised fund — a tax-advantaged account donors can use to deposit charitable contributions and make grants to their favorite causes.
The firm helped monetize the soybeans and fund the farmer’s account, Pirozzolo said.
Just like cash donations, donors can also claim a deduction on their taxes for their gifts. In 2016, 22.9 million income tax returns claimed a deduction for noncash charitable contributions, the IRS found.
Here’s what you need to know if you have an offbeat donation you’d like to make.