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Charitable Bargain Sales

Does the value of your home or other property make up a significant portion of your portfolio? A charitable bargain sale will enable you to make a gift of real estate or other assets to The Nature Conservancy and receive cash back from us.

In a bargain sale, The Nature Conservancy purchases real estate or securities from you for less than fair market value. The difference between market value and the purchase price is your gift, for which you receive an income tax deduction. You also avoid capital gains tax on the donated portion of the property.

It works like this:
  1. You and The Nature Conservancy agree on a purchase price that is less than the property's fair market value, which has been determined by your independent appraiser.
  2. We may pay the purchase amount upfront, or issue you an installment note for a mutually agreed upon term of years and interest rate.

Some donors choose a lump-sum bargain sale payment to help them purchase their next home, or as the entry fee for a retirement facility. Others prefer the income stream from an installment note.

Planning points
  • As with all gifts of real estate, we must review and approve the transfer before the bargain sale can be completed.
  • If you want to transfer real estate or securities that are not publicly traded, you must secure an independent appraisal to establish the property's value for the charitable deduction.
  • Transferring property that carries a mortgage or other debt can result in income tax liability. We can discuss this with you and your advisors as you are considering your gift.
Transfer property through a charitable bargain sale if...
  • You want to use your home or other appreciated asset to make a gift, but retain some of its value for your personal needs.
  • You are looking for a gift plan that can return significant financial benefits to you, and provide income and capital gains tax relief.
Gift Example

You're ready to move to a retirement facility across town. You know that you will need some of the equity in your current home for the entry fees there. But your home has appreciated significantly over the years, and you would like to use some of the excess value to fund a gift to The Nature Conservancy.

You decide to transfer your home to us through a charitable bargain sale. You secure an independent appraisal stating that the house is worth $1,000,000, and we agree to pay you $600,000.

What are your benefits?
Fair market value$1,000,000
Cost basis$200,000
Capital gain$800,000
Selling price$600,000
Charitable deduction$400,000
Donation portion of transaction ($400,000 / $1,000,000)40%
Capital gain related to donation (.40 x $400,000)$160,000
Purchase portion of transaction ($600,000 / $1,000,000)60%
Capital gain related to sale* (.60 x $800,000)$480,000

* The first $500,000 (for a couple) or $250,000 (for an individual) of capital gain on your primary residence is excluded from tax, so neither portion of gain was taxed in this example. If you had donated a different piece of property, the $480,000 gain related to our purchase would have been subject to capital gains tax.

Are you planning for your retirement? Find helpful tips.

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