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Tuesday September 30, 2014

Case of the Week

Green Supporting Organization Bailout?

Case:

George Green was a man of humble beginnings. He was born in Bulgaria and lived with his parents on their farm. But George was a diligent student and was determined to become a successful business owner. After high school he obtained permission to come to America to go to college. George applied to several colleges and was accepted as a work-study student at a state college. He lived in the dorm and worked nights in the cafeteria. On weekends, he moonlighted as a waiter at a five-star restaurant.

George was both resourceful and determined to succeed. He started working for a manufacturing company on the east coast, but soon was drawn west. Starting on a shoestring, he worked day and night to build probes to measure emissions from smokestacks. His business flourished and soon George was expanding and growing. On the advice of his CPA, George incorporated as GreenProbe, Inc.

Early in his career, George met and married Linda. They raised two children Susan and Clifton. After college, both Susan and Clifton joined GreenProbe, Inc. Susan rose to become President and Clifton was VP of sales.

Linda is a strong supporter of a local charity. George is now on the board and would like to help with a major gift. But he also thought that it would be good to have influence over the operation of a major new charitable program. After speaking with friends, George called their attorney Sharon Erickson. He started by noting, “I have checked into this program and the options. You know that we own the plant for GreenProbe. I have depreciated the plant over 25 years, and it has a very low basis. We have been asked to set up a new foundation with Favorite Charity for an important project.”

Question:

George continued, “But I have several questions. The plant building is worth about $2 million. We would like to make a gift of this size, but Susan and Clifton will need to repurchase the building for GreenProbe. How can we give the building, deduct the $2 million value and get it back to Susan and Clifton? And how would this foundation work?”

Solution:

Sharon discussed options with Favorite Charity and then responded, “George, I have spoken with the leaders of Favorite Charity. We discussed setting up the Green Foundation as a Type I supporting organization. They are open to running this important new program through the Green Foundation. Here is how the plan could work. First, we will set up the Green Foundation with five directors. Three will be from Favorite Charity and you and Linda will be the other two directors. You would give the $2 million building to the Green Foundation. While there cannot be a prearranged agreement, GreenProbe, Inc. can buy the building at fair market value. Because the Green Foundation is a public charity, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) explanation of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 indicates that a family member or entity may purchase a Type I foundation asset at fair market value. Under the rules, there cannot be a loan from the Green Foundation to a family company of the donors, but Susan is able to obtain outside financing and will repurchase the plant for $2 million cash. The good news is that GreenProbe will have a new basis and will be able to take depreciation again on the building.”

George and Linda were delighted. He and Linda received a charitable deduction for the $2 million gift, will reduce taxes for the next six years, are able to help Favorite Charity fund an important project through the Green Foundation and their children will be able to take depreciation on the plant. He remarked, “I support my government, but I have supported my government all these years! It is wonderful to save taxes both on our personal and on the corporate returns.”

Published September 26, 2014

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