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On Jan 2., Pres­ident Barack Obama signed the American Tax­payer Relief Act of 2013, passed by Con­gress to avoid a financial “fiscal cliff.” Char­i­table orga­ni­za­tions, such as Hillsdale College, are taking advantage of one pro­vision that allows for more out­right gifts from indi­vidual donors.

Because this extension is time-sen­sitive, the Hillsdale College’s Office of Insti­tu­tional Advancement, under the direction of John Cervini, spear­headed a new effort to com­mu­nicate this infor­mation with donors. This pro­vision allows anyone over the age of 70 to make tax-free dona­tions up to $100,000 per tax­payer per year from their indi­vidual retirement accounts to qual­ified char­ities.

Carolyn Fanning, the college’s gift and estate planning coun­selor, explained that the extension of this pro­vision was essential in answering out­standing tax ques­tions that have had a sig­nif­icant bearing on the majority of sup­porters of Hillsdale.

The college is cur­rently mailing out 90,000 letters to inform past IRA donors of the pro­vision, Fanning said.

“It is a very quick turn­around,” she said. “We were right on top of informing them of this extension in the event that they wanted to make another gift.”

A large amount of federal income tax codes were set to expire at the end of 2012. The majority of the tax cuts were enacted under Pres­ident George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003. If no action was taken, many of the tax pro­vi­sions would revert to pre-2001 law, restricting tax-free IRA dona­tions.

“This extension extended an area of assets that had pre­vi­ously not been used to make char­i­table gifts,” Fanning said. “It is a won­derful oppor­tunity for the college – the only problem is that it is only good for 2013.”

According to Fanning, a sig­nif­icant amount of donors have responded to the out­reach, taking advantage of this new extension. Fanning attributes the con­tinued gen­erosity of Hillsdale’s sup­porters to the increasing con­cerns of a growing gov­ernment that increases its con­fis­cation of indi­vidual wealth through tax­ation.

“The more people learn about Hillsdale, the more they become com­mitted to the college’s mission,” Fanning said.

“The tax ben­efits are nice,” Fanning con­tinued. “the financial ben­efits are great, but they are ancillary to that heartfelt ded­i­cation to what Hillsdale is all about.”