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End Your Year on a High Note

For many of us, the end of the year means celebrating the holidays, reflecting on the months past, and showing gratitude for the people and places that make life better. It also marks the end of the fiscal year, a critical time for ensuring that your short- and long-term plans align with your financial and personal goals.

To help you make the most of your thoughtful giving to Memorial Sloan Kettering, here are a few things to consider as you wind down 2021:

This is your last chance to maximize your charitable deduction.

Tax time is around the corner, and the extended CARES Act provisions are scheduled to expire on December 31. To take advantage of these tax savings, consult your advisor to ensure that you receive the maximum benefit this year and also begin planning for 2022.

The CARES Act includes:

  • An expansion of the universal charitable deduction for cash gifts. The new deduction is $300 for single filers and $600 for married couples filing jointly. This is available to taxpayers who take the standard deduction. This tax incentive is available for cash gifts to qualified charities (but not to supporting organizations or donor-advised funds).
  • An extension of the cap on deductions for cash contributions. The CARES Act lifted the cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, increasing it from 60% to 100% of adjusted gross income. Any excess contributions available can be carried over to the next five years. (For corporations, the law raised the annual limit from 10% to 25% of taxable income.)

Time is running out to use your IRA to make a difference this year.

If you are 70½ or older, it can be advantageous to make your last gift of the year using your IRA. This is because you can make a tax-free transfer of any amount up to $100,000 per year to MSK. If you are 72 or older, then you likely have a required minimum distribution (RMD) that you must take from your IRA each year. To avoid paying federal income taxes on your RMD, you can direct it to MSK to fuel life-changing research and care. But you must act quickly, as the transfer must be completed before year-end to count for 2021.

While you are in contact with your IRA account holder, consider reviewing the beneficiaries you have named for your account. You might also think about updating them to include MSK. Many of our supporters find giving through a beneficiary designation to be an easy, convenient way to create their MSK legacy of advancing tomorrow’s most promising cancer research.

Giving high value appreciated stock can offer added benefits.

When you give appreciated stock to fuel our important mission, you can 1) avoid paying capital gains taxes on the increase in value from when you purchased it and 2) receive a charitable deduction for the fair market value on the date it is sold. During times when the market is fluctuating, or when you anticipate a decrease in the stock’s value, it can be especially helpful to give in this way so that you receive the highest possible deduction.

We Can Help

To learn more about ways to enhance your year-end giving, or to learn more about establishing an enduring legacy with MSK through a gift in your will or other estate plans, contact the Office of Planned Giving at 800-688-1827 or

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 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 bequeath to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, a New York nonprofit corporation having a principal place of business at 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, Federal Tax ID #13-1924236, ____percent of my total estate (or $_____, or other property) to be used or disposed of as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in its sole discretion deems appropriate.

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 MSK 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 MSK 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 MSK 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 MSK where you agree to make a gift to MSK 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.

A tax imposed at one's death on the transfer of most types of property. Currently federal estate taxes are assessed in 2021 on estates worth more than $11.2 million. The maximum estate tax rate is 40 percent. Some states also impose taxes at death that vary depending on state law.

A written legal instrument created by a grantor for the benefit of him/herself (during life) or others (during life or at death).

A revocable trust established by a grantor during his or her lifetime in which the grantor transfers some or all of his or her property into the trust.

Equity or debt instruments, typically shares listed on a stock exchange, which can be readily bought or sold.