Q&A: Is it better to make a charitable donation in stock or cash?

September 4, 2009
David J. Schiller, JD

The author is a Norristown, PA tax and estate-planning specialist, and an editorial consultant to this magazine.

If you do not have stocks with gains, you are better off donating cash.

A: If the stock has appreciated since you bought it, you would be wise to contribute the stock. That way, you will not pay capital gains tax on the growth and will get a charitable deduction equal to the fair market value of the stock you contributed. Conversely, if you have suffered a loss in the stock, it makes no sense to contribute the stock since you would not get to deduct the loss. If you do not have stocks with gains, you are better off donating cash.

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Wondering how to balance your retirement goals with your desire to make charitable donations? See http://memag.com/charity

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