Billings TrailNet benefactor Bernie Rose is a retired economics professor knows how to make private money work for the benefit of the community, and wants to share that knowledge with others who would like to see their taxable earnings go toward the betterment of Billings and causes for which they find compelling.

Bernie explains that people can make a contribution to their favorite nonprofit and use it as a charitable deduction on their Montana state income taxes by using the Montana Tax Credit.

“The Montana Tax Credit is the best kept secret in Montana,” said Bernie. “A person can make a contribution to a nonprofit’s endowment and then can claim a tax credit on their Montana tax return of 40 percent of the gift,” he explains.

The maximum credit is $10,000 per year for each taxpayer (a married couple, filing jointly is entitled to a $20,000 maximum credit). There is also a deduction for the amount of the gift on a person’s Federal income tax.

“And the tax savings become even larger if they fund their gift with appreciated securities,” he adds.

“Gifts can be appreciated securities or almost any financial asset. If you sell stock you have to pay income tax for the interest, but if you give appreciated stock, it wipes out your capital gains,” says Bernie.

Bernie made an endowment gift to Billings TrailNet several years ago which, with gifts from other donors, has grown to an endowment of $55,000 the group hopes to grow to at least $100,000 within the next few years.

After a five-year period while the endowment gift grows, Billings TrailNet can use the earnings to sustain its work.

The Billings Community Foundation is set up to manage endowments for nonprofits. To give appreciated stock, a donor just needs to tell their broker to set up the gift with the Billings Community Foundation for the nonprofit of their choice. Donors must live in Montana to be eligible, and if they make their gift before December 31, 2021 the credit will apply toward their 2021 taxes. More information is at mtnonprofit.org/endow-montana.

Billings TrailNet works daily at advocating for trails and bikeways, informing the public about trail and bikeway-related issues, planning monthly events to encourage physical activity, and being the pipeline between the public and city administrators on infrastructure needs.

These activities provide a unique and valuable service to the Billings community. Giving a planned gift to Billings TrailNet will community for years to come.

For more information on making an endowment gift to Billings TrailNet, please  contact Lauren Wright at Billings Community Foundation, at 406-839-3334 or email her at the link below.

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