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The Catholic University of America

Tax Reform and Charitable Giving

For many taxpayers, the new tax law creates an opportunity in the form of increased disposable income. Here are a few of the changes that may affect you.

  • New Income Tax Brackets: Many taxpayers will find themselves with more disposable income due to lower brackets. They may now have an opportunity to give more to the charitable organizations they care about.
  • Cash Contributions: The limit for cash contributions is now 60 percent of AGI, up from 50. This may encourage higher income donors to increase their cash gifts.
  • Standard Deduction: Nearly doubles the standard deduction.
  2018 2017
Single $12,000 $6,350
Heads of Household $18,000 $9,350
Married Filing Jointly $24,000 $12,700
  • Estate Tax Exemption: Doubles the estate tax deduction
  2018 2017
Individuals $11.18 million $5.49 million
Married Couples $22.36 million $10.98 million

The exemption will increase with inflation.

NOTE: On Dec. 31, 2025, a majority of individual tax provisions expire and may go back to the rates of 2017.

Talk With Your Tax Professional

Please consult with your tax or financial advisors to determine the best charitable giving strategies for you.

Download Our Free Guide

We Can Help

We are so grateful for your generosity. Please contact Isabel de la Puente at delapuente@cua.edu or 202-319-6914 or Leo Gallegos at gallegos@cua.edu or 202-319-6926, to discuss how your gift can help further our mission.

eBrochure Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the brochure.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to The Catholic University of America a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I give to The Catholic University of America, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 620 Michigan Avenue, NE, Washington DC 20064, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Catholic University or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property, or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Catholic University as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Catholic University as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Catholic University where you agree to make a gift to Catholic University and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

Personal Estate Planning Kit Request Form

Please provide the following information to view the materials for planning your estate.