What are the limits for Donor-Advised Funds and Private Foundations?

Provided by Bob Medler, AIF®, CRPC®, CMFC®
LPL Wealth Advisor | Investment Analyst

Among the big changes in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) were new limits on standard and itemized deductions. These limits and restrictions created new hurdles when planning deductions with tax advantages in mind. An exception was charitable deduction, which remained an option for high-income individuals looking to create a donation for the charity of their choice.

Donor-Advised Funds and Private Foundations. When making a charitable donation, two avenues to consider are donor-advised funds (DAFs) and private foundations (PFs). DAFs are established by public charities as a philanthropic vehicle; the donor can allow the donation to potentially grow over time and advise on grants from the fund (assuming compliance approval), all while having an immediate tax benefit for that initial contribution. Private foundations offer total control in terms of the grants you’ve made and their distribution.1,2

In contrast, a private foundation tends to be larger in size (sometimes in the millions of dollars) in comparison to DAFs (which can be set up with as little as $5,000) and generally represent a larger and less-flexible method of charitable giving.3

How much can you give? There are different tax considerations to keep in mind. Your limit in contributing to a private foundation is 30% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) in the year you make that donation. On the other hand, the same limit for a DAF is up to 60% of your AGI.1

What about long-term appreciated marketable securities? Your limit to a private foundation is 20% of AGI for the year of the donation. For a DAF, it’s 30% of AGI.1

Advantages to consider. There are advantages to both private foundations and donor-advised funds, both in terms of tax deductions and the control that you may exercise over how the funds are dispersed.1,4

However, you should also be aware that the I.R.S. is on the lookout for those who may use the flexibility of donor-advised funds to create improper distributions, which may, for instance, directly benefit a donor’s family. For this reason, among others, it’s best to have several conversations with a trusted tax and financial professional, who can both assist you in the creation of any such entity as well as help you manage your charitable giving.1,4

Robert Medler is a Registered Representative with and, securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC CA Insurance License # 0C05523

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – cnbc.com/2018/10/02/use-this-charitable-contribution-to-receive-immediate-tax-benefits.html [10/2/18]
2 – forbes.com/sites/catherineschnaubelt/2018/09/27/the-advantages-of-donor-advised-funds-as-a-charitable-giving-strategy/ [9/7/18]
3 – cafamerica.org/11-facts-about-donor-advised-funds-and-private-foundations/ [1/28/19]
4 – irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/donor-advised-funds [4/2/18]