Sunday, May 13, 2012


Giving for your tax benefit 0

By Ellwood Shreve, Chatham Daily News

It's said there are only two sure things in life - death and taxes.

You can't cheat death forever, but you can help lower what the government gets from your estate in taxes, by giving to charity.

Lawyers, financial planners and professional fundraisers were among those attending the Chatham-Kent Planned Giving Summit 2012 in Chatham on Friday.

Brad Langford, chair of the Chatham-Kent chapter of the Canadian Association of Gift Planners, said the goal is to get professionals start a conversation with clients about the tax benefits of charitable giving in their wills.

The people giving advice on wills and financial planning are often the best people to raise the issue, he added.

Langford said charities and fundraisers for various groups are facing greater challenges raising money.

"Because the economy has been rough, it's very tough to get people to commit to give money now, often for very good reasons," he said, "because they don't have the money now."

Langford said an effort is being made to develop an alternative model to aid charitable organizations in a way that won't impact the donors' ability to pay the bills, but allow them to make a contribution to an organization they support at some point, which could be after their death.

"People often forget what they have at their death may be fairly substantial," he said, adding often some substantial tax issues may arise as well.

This often occurs after the death of a surviving spouse, he said, noting there could be a principal residence, cottage their children don't want to take over, and RRSP proceeds.

Lawyer Jonathan Quaglia, a partner with the law firm of Spisani Quaglia, spoke about the legal considerations for planned giving.

He noted there will be taxes to pay when someone dies, but there's an opportunity to offset that by donating to charity.

However, Quaglia said a tax deduction will only be given if the gift is donated to a charity registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.

"It's important for us to talk to our clients (about charitable giving), because the government is hoping this will put more money into communities," he said.

Quaglia said if someone is planning to make a substantial gift, it is advisable that the immediate family be aware of it so there are no surprises.

Langford said the local chapter of gift planners is still in the early stages of raising awareness about this issue.

"It's a relatively long-term process to change people's attitudes to start thinking about making these kinds of gifts, and that's really what we're in the process of trying to do right now," he said.

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