CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act

These are difficult times for everyone. Like many arts presenting organizations, Geneva Music Festival (GMF) finds itself in uncharted waters while the need for world class music is more important than ever. We want to let you know about a few key provisions and some of the significant tax benefits introduced by the new CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act.

If you take the standard deduction: The new law allows for a universal charitable deduction of up to $300 ($600 per married couple), even if you do not itemize. This provision applies to cash gifts only, and means donors can take a deduction in addition to the standard deduction ($12,400 for individuals and $24,800 for married couples filing jointly). You might think that this is a small amount and would not make a difference. But what if all of our donors gave “just” $300? Such support would have a huge impact on those we serve.

Opportunity: Make a cash gift to GMF and receive an immediate tax benefit while providing valuable support to the mission.

If you do itemize deductions: The new law allows for cash contributions to qualified charities like GMF to be deducted up to 100% of adjusted gross income in 2020. Donors with the ability to do so will be able to eliminate most or all of their tax liability for the year.

Opportunity: Offset a higher portion of 2020 taxable income with increased cash gifts this year.

The new law temporarily suspends the requirements for required minimum distributions (RMDs) for the 2020 tax year. This probably comes as a relief to many of you who would have had to withdraw a greater percentage of your retirement accounts. Many of our supporters use their RMD to make gifts from their IRA. If you are 70½ or older, you can still make a gift from your IRA or name us as a beneficiary. In this new reality, qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) continue to be a smart, efficient way to support charities.

Opportunity: You may still make a tax-advantaged qualified charitable distribution from an IRA.

To our friends who use Donor Advised Funds (DAFs): while transfers to DAFs are not eligible under the new rules, distributions from DAFs to charities are strongly encouraged. Your deduction has already been taken, so it does not do any good to continue to park these funds in your DAF account.

Opportunity: Make an immediate impact by distributing funds now during a time of great need.

The CARES Act is a complex new law. Please consult with your professional advisor as needed. We are grateful for your generosity, which touches and changes so many lives and keeps our community vibrant.