By Ron Subber

‘Tis the season …

It seems like it was just spring a few days ago, and now pumpkins are everywhere and thoughts of carved turkeys and eggnog are not far away. The 2018 holiday season is fast approaching, and many of our thoughts turn to family traditions to be shared once again. Everyone at Hunterdon Land Trust shares those same thoughts. But it knows that the “holiday” season also means the prime “giving” season for many of you. It is the time of year when many of you focus on your charitable giving, and I’d like to share a few thoughts with you.

First, we often associate charitable gifts with tax deductions and that is still very much the case. The United States Congress, over the years, has made many changes to the rules for taking tax deductions for charitable gifts to organizations like the HLT. Rates and rules have been adjusted over the years, and there have been very recent changes that affect many. However, for most people, whether you normally itemize deductions or not, there still is a significant tax advantage in making charitable contributions.

This is especially true when making donations using stock or mutual funds that have appreciated over the years. Despite the recent turmoil in the stock market, there has been a tremendous increase in stock values since the low point in 2009, and many find that they have a substantial gain in their holdings. Contributing a portion of this “highly appreciated” stock not only creates a potential tax deduction, but also totally avoids the tax on the gain in the value of the stock.

HLT does not give specific tax advice, and I strongly recommend talking with your tax advisor to learn how you might benefit tax-wise from your contribution. But if you have appreciated stock or mutual funds, it is likely that you will benefit from current tax law.

Regardless of the tax implications and whether you have appreciated stock, most people report that their prime motivation in making gifts to charities like the Hunterdon Land Trust is NOT receiving the tax benefits, but rather the strong desire to further the mission of the organization. We know this is especially true of HLT supporters. We constantly hear from you that preserving the beauty and benefits of the fields, streams, trees and flowers of our special county is the prime reason for your support. The tax benefits are often an added (and sometimes very significant) bonus, but HLT appreciates that your support is driven primarily by your desire to have us help you in continuing to preserve what we are so fortunate to have here in this wonderful place.

The staff of Hunterdon Land Trust would love the opportunity to personally discuss your desire to support them, and to assist you in deciding how best to accomplish that. I know they appreciate all of your past generosity, and that they pledge to continue to earn your trust and support.

And I hope you enjoy the pumpkins and the turkey and the eggnog …

Visit our Donate Page to learn more about contributing to Hunterdon Land Trust and about Planned Giving Options.

Ronald W. Subber, a longtime supporter of Hunterdon Land Trust, is a Certified Advisor in Philanthropy. Along with his wife, Martha Wood, he began The Private Advisor, Inc. Ron specializes in the investment, estate planning and charitable areas of the financial planning process. Ron has previously been named one of the top financial planners in the United States by both Worth and Money magazines. He has received his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) degrees. Ron is one of less than 300 planners in the United States to be awarded the designation of Certified Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP®).