4 Easy Steps Toward Tackling Tax Time

Benjamin Franklin once wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” For some, tax time is the more intimidating option.

Save yourself the hassle and aggravation of tax season by taking steps to gather what you need before the taxman comes calling. By being better organized, you’ll put yourself in a position to further your support of Park University and other causes close to your heart.

  1. Gather Your Documents. Employers have until Jan. 31 to send earning statements. When you receive your tax forms, review them for accuracy. The earlier you are able to catch potential errors, the lower your chance of a penalty in April.
  2. Get Organized. If you have receipts from charitable organizations or major home improvements, now is the time to organize your paperwork. Remember to make note of any major life changes and their implications as you file this year.
  3. Itemize, Itemize, Itemize. Instead of opting for the standard deductions to reduce your taxable income, list each tax deduction and credit you may qualify for. When you itemize your deductions, you can deduct charitable donations that you’ve made during the year. Visit IRS.gov to read more about the variety of credits and deductions available this year.
  4. File Electronically. Once you’ve calculated your adjusted gross income, itemized your deductions and credits, and completed the necessary tax forms, you are ready to file your taxes. Visit IRS.gov to explore the many electronic filing options (known as E-File) available for individuals looking to get an early start. Electronic filing is the best way to ensure an error-free return.

Did you support Park with an annual gift last year?

Contact Nathan Marticke at (816) 584-6844 or nathan.marticke@park.edu to learn how you can extend your impact and support Park with a gift in your estate.

The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under this agreement, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.

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Park University's degree programs are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Park University is a private, non-profit, institution of higher learning since 1875.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Park University 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

Bequest Language

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Park University [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 Park 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 gift 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 receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 Park as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. 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 Park 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 Park where you agree to make a gift to Park 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.

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