Making Cents: Thinking of charities at Christmas

The support of charity gift collections, from shoeboxes to Bóthar’s sheep, comes from this desire to use the extra that some of us have to help those who need it.

Making Cents: Thinking of charities at Christmas

At a time when many of us are spending more than we do in any other month of the year, and we see children in particular being showered with gifts, charitable donations seem more important than ever. The support of charity gift collections, from shoeboxes to Bóthar’s sheep, comes from this desire to use the extra that some of us have to help those who need it.

Recently solicitor Emma Comyn, a partner in Comyn Kelleher Tobin’s conveyancing team, told me about another way of donating to charity, for those who have shares to give rather than cash.

As a specialist in the area of probate, Ms Comyn guides people every day on what to do when their loved ones pass away. For those who inherit shareholdings and wish to donate them to charity, she recommends they consider the ShareGift service.

ShareGift is a charitable share giving service now being used by many Stock Transfer Companies, including Computershare, and publicly traded companies such as Verizon, Vodafone, AIB Group and Bank of Ireland. ShareGift also accept donations, of low and high value shareholdings, from living donors and so are also an option for those considering a charitable share donation.

So how does it work?

ShareGift is a registered charity. The shares are registered in the name of ShareGift and placed within their portfolio of shares.

“Shares are aggregated within the portfolio until enough of anyone holding is accumulated to sell,” Ms Comyn explains. “In the meantime, shareholdings may attract dividends or capital payments, and all of this helps create a pool of funds.

“Stock Transfer Companies and publicly traded companies currently working with ShareGift have drafted convenient forms to enable the smooth transfer of shareholdings.” But stocks in companies that don’t currently work with the service can also be accepted.

“If the company the stocks are held in is not affiliated to ShareGift shares can be transferred in the normal course to ShareGift as if they were any other new shareholder,” Emma says.

Since 2016, ShareGift have made donations totalling in excess of €1 million to charities in Ireland.

“We do not accept applications for funding, and have selected eight charities who undertake work in Ireland,” ShareGift say.

These organisations cover a wide range of charitable activities, and have been selected to reflect the varied charitable interests of the donors and the companies we work with.

It is important to note the donation is made to the fund rather than the specific charity. The charities ShareGift donates to in Ireland are Barretstown, Focus Ireland, Youth Work Ireland, Irish Cancer Society,The Community Foundation for Ireland, Special Olympics Ireland Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice and the ISPCA.

The main query from potential donors is about the tax consequences. The situation differs depending on whether or not you inherited the shares. “As charitable legacies are not subject to Capital Acquisitions Tax (the tax payable on gifts and inheritances), as regulated by the Charities Regulator, this will also apply to shares donated to charity,” Ms Comyn says.

And if not? “If a living donor decides to donate a shareholding to a charitable organisation the provisions of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 will apply,” she explains “An individual may engage in tax-efficient giving of a sum more than €250 but less than €1m to an “approved charity” annually.

"This relief comes in the form of income tax relief for cash-based gifts; lump sum donations and regularly debited payments both qualify for this relief. However, if a gift is that of shares the donor can choose which tax relief they would like to avail of, income tax relief or Capital Gains Tax (CGT) relief. The benefit is assessed by Revenue as the market value of the shares at the time of the donation.”

You can visit the Charitable Donation Scheme on Revenue.ie for more information on tax implications.

DEAL OF THE WEEK

If you are caught for a last-minute gift while visiting friends and family over the next week or so, Aldi have a Special buys range going on sale this Thursday that includes some beautiful festive bouquets at reasonable prices. Aldi’s Specially Selected Yuletide Joy Bouquet, comes complete with water bubble for €14.99.

For extra value, with Aldi’s Specially Selected Christmas Tulips in Ceramic Jug, for €14.99, you get 18 stems of tulips, and a jug that can be used again and again. At a slightly higher price point, the retailer is selling a Christmas Cheer Bouquet or a Winter Wonderland Bouquet, both €19.99.

And if you really need to impress the in-laws on Christmas Day, the pièce de résistance, Aldi’s Specially Selected Exquisite ‘The Showstopper’, goes on sale for €39.99. Designed using a variety of flowers, the bouquet is hand tied and presented in a gift box.

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