The tenth annual “Planned Giving Conference” was held today in Des Moines, to go over guidelines for charitable organizations. National consultant Ken Brown, a retired banker from North Carolina, says even individuals can use the guidelines for how to give it away. He asks what they’re trying to accomplish and says though it may include a tax deduction, a donor can also achieve their humanitarian goals with help and advice from local agencies like the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation, which he praises. He says last year Americans gave 212-billion dollars for charitable purposes, 80-percent from individuals, not corporations — and Brown adds citizens of Iowa played their part. Brown says in the year 2000, Iowans gave a little over a Billion dollars to charity, out of their gross income of 54-billion. Brown says a benefactor can get a tax deduction while helping a good cause, though he recommends extra caution if you’re thinking of donating stocks. The market’s been down, so don’t give a charity a stock with current “fair market value” less than it cost when you bought it — he cautions the owner to sell it and give the money instead. But Brown adds a stock that’s worth more in the time you got it, giving it to charity avoids capital gains tax. He says in addition to the Greater Des Moines Foundation, investment companies like Merrill Lynch and Wells Fargo have charitable units that can advise donors.
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