The common techniques for making gifts of real estate are each briefly described below. We would be happy to discuss with you which technique might be best for your particular situation and goals.
Transfer your real estate to us outright
This is the simplest way for you to give the American Red Cross a piece of real estate. By giving us all rights to your real estate, you will maximize your support of the Red Cross, and you will earn an income tax deduction equal to the full appraised value of your real estate.
Sell your real estate to us for less than its appraised value
When you sell the Red Cross your real estate in a "bargain sale" arrangement, you will enjoy several benefits. You will receive an immediate cash payment equal to the sale price and an income tax deduction for the difference between your sale price and the appraised value of your property. You will also avoid capital gains tax on your gain in the gift portion of the arrangement.
Give your home to us, but continue to live in it as long as you wish
When you give your home to the Red Cross subject to a "retained life estate," you can continue to live in your home for as long as you wish, for the rest of your life, or for the lives of you and your spouse. You will earn an immediate income tax deduction for a portion of the value of your home. You also can make a retained life estate gift using a second home, farm, or any structure you use as a personal residence.
Give your real estate now and receive variable payments for life
Using a gift arrangement called a "flip unitrust," you can give your real estate now and start receiving payments as soon as your real estate has been sold. Your payments will vary with the value of your flip unitrust. Payments equal to 5% or 6% of trust value are typical. You will also receive a substantial income tax deduction. In addition, there will be no immediate capital gains tax on the sale of your real estate.
Give your real estate now and receive secure fixed payments for life
Using a gift arrangement called a "deferred gift annuity," you can give your real estate now and receive payments of a fixed amount starting on the date you choose. The payment amount will depend on your age and how long after your donations start. Payments are backed by the general resources of the American Red Cross for life and typically are partially tax-free. You also will receive a substantial income tax deduction and avoid or defer capital gains tax.
Give us a portion of your real estate holding
Rather than give us all of your real estate holding, you can give us an "undivided interest." For example, if you own 100 acres of farm land, you could give us 50 acres. You will receive an immediate income tax deduction for the value of the portion you give. You will, of course, retain complete control of the portion of your real estate that you choose to keep.
Give your real estate through your estate
By making a gift of real estate through your estate, you will retain use of your property during your life. What's more, you can change your gift plan whenever you wish, should your circumstances or priorities change. Putting your gift of real estate into your estate plan now will help assure that your wishes will be carried out later. You may also save estate taxes.
Special considerations when giving real estate
Giving real estate to our organization requires some extra steps of which you should be aware. These steps include the following:
- You will need to establish the value of your property by obtaining a qualified appraisal. To be valid for claiming your charitable income tax deduction, your appraisal must be conducted no more than 60 days before your donation and no later than the due date, including extensions, of your next tax return.
- In addition to your appraiser's valuation, we will need to examine your property and conduct our own independent analysis of its value. For example, we will want to know if there are any debts, taxes, or liens owed on your property.
- Once we accept your gift of real estate, we become responsible for cleaning up any environmental problems your property may have. This sort of cleanup could be very expensive. Therefore, before we accept any gift of real estate, we routinely conduct a review to make sure the property has no environmental issues.
Carl Hill owns several buildings in his hometown. While they have been a good investment for him over the years, he's ready to stop being a landlord. His properties have grown substantially in value, so he's concerned that he will have a big capital gains tax bill to worry about if he sells them. He would also like to show his dedication to the American Red Cross by making a major gift.
One of Carl's buildings is appraised for $300,000. He purchased it for $45,000. Carl proposes that he donate it to us which will eliminate his concern over capital gains tax. After performing our own review of the property, we confirm that the appraised value is accurate and that we have no environmental or financial concerns regarding Carl's property.
- Carl receives a $300,000 income tax deduction.
- Carl saves $111,000 in income tax and $51,000 in capital gains tax.
- Carl is relieved of all responsibilities of owning the property.
- Carl gains the satisfaction of providing substantial support to the Red Cross.