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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Foundations can make charitable donations easier

By Caroline Lynch
(Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal

Small-business owners can save on their taxes — which can be especially important when profits are increasing — if they give to charity before the year's end.

And the owners have even more to gain from donations when profits are up.

"For many small businesses, 2003 has been a turnaround year," said Stephen Lukinovich, a partner with Chilton & Medley accounting firm. "So now they really need to think about what they're going to do to minimize the tax liability that comes with turning around."

Though direct donations to charity are fine for most small businesses, owners making large or complex donations or who want more flexibility or time to make gift decisions could look to foundations.

Foundations solve the end-of-year time crunch that many businesses face, said Mark Stewart, public relations director for the Louisville Community Foundation.

A business owner can write a check to a foundation, and decide later where to direct the money, but still get the tax write-off this year.

The corporate account makes giving easy for small-business owners who may not have much time to think about where they want their money to go, or may not have made a decision by year's end.

Cliff Whalin, president of the year-old Louisville Christian Foundation, said many faith-based agencies have a harder time getting money.

Both foundations offer several types of funds.

Though donors should still consult with an accountant or lawyer on large or complex gifts, Whalin said foundations are a good resource. They give advice on how to donate more complicated gifts such as real estate, stocks or other assets.