Charitable Gift Annuity

A charitable gift annuity provides fixed payments to you for life in exchange for your gift of cash or securities to the American Red Cross. With the generous increase in annuity rates effective on July 1, 2018 our supporters are showing a renewed enthusiasm for this way to support our work. Gift annuities are easy to set up and the payments you receive are backed by the general resources of the American Red Cross for as long as you live.  

charitable gift annuity could be right for you if:

  • You want to maintain or increase your income, now even more attractive with the new – and higher - annuity rates.
  • You want the security of fixed, dependable payments for life.
  • You want to save income taxes or capital gains taxes.
  • You would like income that may be partially tax-free.
  • You are considering a gift amount of $5,000 or more.
  • You are at least 65 years of age.
 

 

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A simple contract
A charitable gift annuity is a simple arrangement between you and the American Red Cross that requires a one or two page agreement. You will incur minimal or no costs to establish the arrangement and no costs at all to maintain it.   

Irrevocable gift 
A charitable gift annuity is an irrevocable arrangement. Once you transfer assets in exchange for the gift annuity, you cannot change your mind and get the assets back. This requirement assures that whatever is left of your gift when the gift annuity ends will go to support the Red Cross.

Fixed payments for life
In exchange for your irrevocable gift of cash, securities, or other assets, the Red Cross will pay you a fixed amount each year for life. The amount of the payment depends on the amount donated and the age of the payment recipient.  

  1. Payments last for your lifetime. You cannot outlive your payments.
  2. Payments are predictable. Your payments will not be affected by investment performance or market conditions. You will get the same amount each year. 
  3. Payments are very secure. They are backed by the general resources of the American Red Cross, not just by the assets you donate.

Tax-advantaged payments
Part of each payment typically will be tax-free for many years. This tax-free portion makes the payments more valuable than an equal amount of fully taxable income. The amount of this tax-free portion will be greater if you give cash than if you give stock or other appreciated property.

Who can receive payments?
You decide who will get the payments from your gift annuity. Usually, this will be you, or you and your spouse. You can, however, select any one or two people to receive the payments from your gift annuity. For example, you may wish to provide income for parents, a sibling, or a faithful employee. 

Payout rate depends on age
The older you are when you make your gift, the greater the payment rate you will receive. If you choose other people to receive the payments from your gift annuity, their ages at the time of your gift will determine their payment rate. Our minimum age is 65.

Sample Annuity Rates

Gift Amount Age Payment Rate Annuity Deduction

$10,000

65

4.7%

$470

$4,070

$10,000

72

5.4%

$540

$4,651

$10,000

79

6.6%

$660

$5,192

$10,000

86

8%

$800

$5,970

 

Tax benefits
You will earn an immediate income tax charitable deduction in the year of your gift, providing tax savings if you itemize. The amount of this deduction will depend on several factors. If you cannot use the entire deduction that year, you may carry forward your unused deduction for up to five additional years. 

If you give stock or other appreciated property to create a gift annuity, you will pay tax on only a portion of your capital gain in the property. Even better, if you are the payment recipient of your gift annuity, you will be able to report this capital gain in installments over many years. In this case, your capital gain income will replace some of the tax-free portion you would receive if you were to give cash.

By removing the gift assets from your estate, you may also reduce future estate taxes and probate costs. The amount of these savings will depend on the size of your estate and on estate tax law in force at the time your estate is settled.

Assets to consider
Cash currently held in a savings account, bank CD, or money-market fund makes an excellent funding asset. Usually, a gift annuity will provide you with larger payments than any of these investments.

Securities, especially highly-appreciated securities that you have owned for one year or more, are also an excellent funding asset. Giving them to us in exchange for a gift annuity will allow you to unlock their value to increase your cash flow and avoid substantial capital gains tax at the same time.

Example

Helen is a 71 year-old widow. She would like to make a significant gift to the American Red Cross, but she is dependent on the income produced by her investments. One of these investments is stock in XYZ Widget Corporation that she and her late husband purchased many years ago for $3,000.

Her stock is now worth $10,000 but provides little income - about $126 after tax. Helen is reluctant to sell her XYZ Widget stock to reinvest in higher yielding assets because she will have to pay $1,400 in capital gains tax in the process. This will leave her with just $8,600 to reinvest.

Helen is pleased to learn that she can make a significant gift to the American Red Cross and increase her cash flow by giving her XYZ Widget stock to the Red Cross in exchange for a gift annuity. She can also avoid and defer capital gains taxes, and will receive an income tax deduction that may provide additional tax savings.

  Tax result Cash flow before tax Cash flow
after tax
(37​% tax rate)

Helen keeps her stock

None

$200

$126

Helen sells and reinvests for 4.0% yield

Owes $1,400 capital gains tax

$344

$217

Helen funds a 5.3% gift annuity

$4,543* income tax deduction
Avoid tax on $3,180* of capital gain

$530

$417

 

*Deduction amount and capital gains tax avoided may vary depending on the timing of the gift.