Looking for a Tax Write-Off?

More than 80% of Americans would appreciate charitable donations given on their behalf, in lieu of a physical gift, according to a recent surveyDenotes external link. Please see our Linking Policy and Disclaimer of Link Endorsement.. In addition, 74% would volunteer their time to charity as a gift if they thought others would value this type of responsible giving.

The timing of this article coincides with a lot of buzz about end-of-year giving, so I thought I’d look for someone who could answer my questions about this topic… and I found the perfect expert:

Meet George Huntley, CPA, past Chair of the Board, American Diabetes Association. Over the years, George has served on the National Board of Directors and volunteered his time and attention to various committees (from the Research Policy Committee to the Community & Volunteer Development Committee). He’s a member of the Association’s Pinnacle Society and Summit Circle. He’s an outstanding volunteer – but he’s also a Certified Public Accountant who lives with type 1 diabetes.

This is how our exchange went:

Why do you support the American Diabetes Association?

My sister and I have had type 1 diabetes for over 27 years. Her oldest daughter also has type 1, but the family story doesn’t end with type 1. Our father had type 2 diabetes before he died and another sister also has type 2. Diabetes is squarely in the center of my radar.

That’s the diabetes part, but it doesn’t answer why I support the American Diabetes Association specifically. I support the Association because I have seen firsthand the important work that it does for people with diabetes.

The work that is done in communities across this country in research, patient and professional information and advocacy is critically important. The Association is the leader in all of these areas. Many of the advancements and things we take for granted today are because the American Diabetes Association has been in the trenches fighting for it for over 70 years.

I bet you have seen a lot of change in your 27 years of living with diabetes. Can you share some of them?

I was diagnosed just as home blood glucose monitors were hitting the market. I was very lucky because they were and are an incredible breakthrough in managing the disease. The American Diabetes Association played a key role in that process. The meters used to take three minutes and were fairly large. Now they take five seconds and fit easily in a jacket pocket.

There have been dramatic advancements in the insulins including human insulin, fast acting and long acting insulins.

Then there came the insulin pump. It is the one thing that has changed my life the most. My A1C dropped three points when I went on a pump, and it has stayed at the target level since 1994. I am lucky and I am committed to keeping the string of advancements coming.

Wow – that’s really impressive! I’ve got to admit, however, that there’s a reason I wanted to speak with you as a CPA. Can you tell me, why is it that we talk about charitable donations at the end of the year?

December is a time for planning and reflection. Many people go through their finances and taxes at the end of the year to plan their year-end giving and then reflect on the charities that make a difference in their lives like the American Diabetes Association.

What’s the benefit of tax deductible giving?

Well in simple terms it’s like getting the government to match part of your gift. If you give $100 to a charity and your tax rate is 25% then you will get $25 off of your tax bill. It’s like making a $75 donation with the government matching $25. It’s a great way to leverage your giving to maximize the benefits to both you and the charity.

What kinds of donations can be made?

That is up to the imagination and portfolio of the donor. Anything of value can be donated to a charity. The simplest gift, of course, is cash. People understand cash because it is simple, but other types of gifts can generate an even greater tax advantage.

For example, a gift of a stock that has appreciated in value since you bought it. (Yes, there are some stocks that are up even in this economy.)

Let’s take the prior example of donating $100 and switch the gift from cash to stock. Assuming you bought the stock for $80 and it is worth $100 today, you could donate the stock and avoid paying the tax on the $20 capital gain. That truly maximizes the tax advantage on a gift you were planning to make anyway.

The same thing works with almost any appreciated asset like real estate. (Yes, people do donate real estate to the American Diabetes Association occasionally!) The Association then sells whatever asset is donated and uses the proceeds to fund its mission work.

I’ve read a lot about donating cars. Does that work the same way?

Many people donate their used cars at the end of the year. It allows them to get a tax donation for the fair market value of the vehicle and they avoid the hassle of selling it themselves. Note that their deduction is determined by the amount the charity actually gets upon sale of the car.

What about Memorials or Honor Gifts?

Memorials are a great way to remember someone you love that has passed. The tax advantages are the same as we discussed before but it has the added emotional benefit of knowing that it is in honor of someone you love.

What would you tell someone considering a gift to the American Diabetes Association?

Please join us. Your gift will make a difference.

If you could tell the world one thing about diabetes, what would it be?

Diabetes is a serious disease with deadly complications that has reached epidemic proportions all over the world. We must take concerted, consistent effort to stop it!

Thanks so much to George for sharing his expertise and perspective with us – it’s this type of dedication that keeps our mission alive!

Don’t have resources for a year-end donation?

Here’s another way you can help raise funds to support the American Diabetes Association’s mission:

The Association has been selected as a candidate in Members Project®, a partnership between American Express and TakePart. Each week, from now through February 20, you can vote for us at http://www.stopdiabetes.com/voteDenotes external link. Please see our Linking Policy and Disclaimer of Link Endorsement. to help us become one of five organizations to receive $200,000 in funding from American Express. The funding will go to support research to prevent, cure, and manage diabetes; deliver services to hundreds of communities; and give voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.

Look for the red box on the upper right-hand side of this page that says, “Vote to make a difference.” Thanks!

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5 Responses to Looking for a Tax Write-Off?

  1. Ken Freauff says:

    I have Type 1 diabetes and currently unemployed. I have no insurance and I am not getting unemployment. I need to find out how I can get assistance with what I need for the insulin I use which is Novolog and Lantus. Both of them are getting low and I need to replace both of them with new supplies. Please, I really need help I finding what I can do, I live in Colorado if there any kind of assistance programs I need to know.
    Thank You, Ken Freauff

  2. Dixie Kimsey says:

    My mother recently passed away due to complications from diabetes. We have established a memorial fund for final expenses and donations to one of her favorite charities, the American Diabetes Association.

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