Cash, Checks, and Credit Cards
Gifts of cash are the most common form of contribution to Swarthmore. A gift of cash is easy to make, and the gift is not subject to gift or estate tax. A contribution of cash or by a check that is postmarked in December is deductible for that tax year—even if Swarthmore receives it in January—provided the account against which the check was written had sufficient funds to cover it in December. A contribution by credit card must be made by December 31 in order to be deductible for that tax year.
A cash gift entitles you to a charitable income-tax deduction for the amount of your gift. You may deduct up to 60% of your adjusted gross income for the year of your gift. If all deductible gifts in a year exceed the 60% limit, you may carry the excess amount over as a deduction for up to five more years.
Example: Joan has an adjusted gross income of $100,000 this year. She uses some of her cash investments to make a special gift of $75,000. She may deduct $60,000 this year and carry forward the remaining $15,000. Assuming her income the following year is at least $25,000, she could deduct the amount carried forward on her return for that year.
Pledges provide you an opportunity to make a larger gift than you otherwise thought possible by committing your gift over a period of three to five years, or more in some cases. Ideally, your pledge should be documented in writing.
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Renée P. Atkinson
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