You may have read that Facebook founder, chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced plans to gift substantially all of his Facebook stock to a philanthropic entity called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, named after himself and his wife Priscilla Chan. The gift would be worth $45 billion, instantly becoming one of the largest philanthropic pools in the world.
The donation is remarkably tax-efficient. By making the gift in shares rather than cash, Mr. Zuckerberg will get a charitable contribution deduction on Schedule A of his 1040 form, with the deduction based on the fair market value of the shares. At the same time, he will completely avoid having to pay capital gains taxes on the appreciation of those shares. The LLC can then sell the Facebook stock or hold it and dole it out to charitable organizations and pay no tax regardless of how big the gain. Basically it means that one of the world’s great fortunes will never be taxed, while Mr. Zuckerberg will be able to shelter billions of dollars worth of other income from federal taxation.
About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.
Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is following in Buffett’s stock donation lead, avoiding billions of dollars of taxable income in the process.
CHICAGO An open letter to Mark Zuckerberg: I hear that you plan to give away 99 percent of your Facebook shares – valued at $45 billion – for philanthropic purposes. What a great idea! Your timing makes sense – as a new parent, you naturally begin to think about legacy and the world in which your children will live.