Individuals who wish to make contributions to foreign charities should be aware of the increasingly regulated landscape surrounding international charitable giving and estate planning.
The globalization of the world’s marketplace and generational transfer of wealth have made international charitable giving a popular tool for individuals and tax-exempt organizations alike. In fact, a report by Giving USA shows that while private donations dropped by 3.2% in 2009, giving for international affairs increased by 6.6%.
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project is the most recent example of the changing regulatory scheme. In Holder, the Supreme Court ruled that any material support, including money, material, training, expert advice or assistance to a foreign terrorist or terrorist organization is prohibited – even if the support is for an entirely legal purpose. The Supreme Court did not rule whether this includes all charitable humanitarian aid, but future cases will likely shed light on that issue.
McGuireWoods’ white paper International Charitable Giving and Estate Planning is a useful guide that summarizes the major issues that U.S. and foreign individuals and tax-exempt organizations should consider when engaging in cross-border charitable activities and estate planning. The following topics are discussed:
- U.S. Tax Law: Lifetime & Testamentary International Giving
- Tax Planning Opportunities for Public Charities, Foundations & Individuals
- Withholding & Reporting Issues
- Foreign Investments & Taxation
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