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Planned Giving

Planned giving: Benefiting cats for years to come

Leave a legacy that enables you to be a part of the future of feline health care research. Depending on your goals, there are many kinds of estate gifts. You can donate money, property, stocks, mutual fund shares and bonds, even life estates. Download a donor profile form to get started.

Planned Giving Brochure

Belong to Winn's Nine Lives Society - Planning a Loving Legacy

If you or your family have established a gift to Winn Feline Foundation as part of your will or estate planning, Winn has founded a legacy society as part of our planned giving program.

Winn will offer website recognition for those members who wish to be acknowledged for a lifetime legacy of support for feline health. Additional benefits will also be provided as Winn launches the society in the coming months of September and October 2018. 

Winn's Nine Lives Society Flyer

If you wish to belong to the Nine Lives Society, please contact 

Nine Lives Society Members Are Listed Here

  • Vicki L. Thayer DVM, DABVP 
  • Judith B. Friedman

Estate Planning Tip

"You probably know you can make a gift to Winn Feline Foundation in your Will or Trust. But did you know you may also make Winn primary or secondary beneficiary of other 'due on death' benefits? These may include life insurance, IRA accounts, certain annuities, pensions or 401(k) plans. (Be sure to ask your tax advisor about rights of your surviving spouse if applicable.)"
Tips in 2015

Tip for December, 2015

It’s not too late to make a charitable contribution which can be deducted on your 2015 income taxes.  Charitable contributions made by December 31 may be deducted this year.  You may deduct charitable donations made by credit card before year-end as a 2015 contribution, even if it you don't pay your credit card bill until next year.  Donations made by check may be deducted if mailed by December 31 even though your bank account may not be debited until next year.

Tip for November, 2015

Calendar year taxpayers should be planning and making your final 2015 charitable gift now.  Charitable donations must be made by December 31 to deduct this tax year. Only contributions actually made, not just promised, during this tax year are deductible in this year.  For example, if you make a pledge for a charitable donation during 2015, and paid half this year and half in 2016, the amount actually paid this year would be deductible this year and the other half paid next year would be deductible on your 2016 taxes. 

Tip for October, 2015

Your estate plan (your Will or Trust or both) should mention your pets and how you wish them to be cared for in the event of your death.  Many states now allow “pet trusts” to care for your pets.  However, pet trusts weren’t enforceable under English common law.  So there is no “common law” pet trust; they are state-specific.  Your lawyer can advise of you regarding the technical legal requirements or limits under your state law. 

Tip for September, 2015

Testamentary donations to the Winn Foundation may reduce State and Federal inheritance and estate taxes.  State death taxes may include estate taxes, inheritance taxes, a "pick-up tax" or a combination.  Estate taxes apply to the property in your taxable estate.  Inheritance taxes are focused on the person who inherits the property.  States with no estate or inheritance tax may have a "pick-up tax" that partially offsets what is paid in Federal Estate tax.  Regardless of the form of death tax, the Winn Foundation is a public charity and donations are deductible to the full extent of the law. 

Tip for August, 2015

Don't forget, if you receive anything of value in exchange for your charitable contribution it may reduce the amount you may deduct on your taxes.  If you are given "swag" in exchange for your donation, such as a T-shirt, tote bag or other goods and services, then your deduction is limited to the amount your donation exceeds the value of the merchandise or services you received. Keep track as you go to maximize your deduction later. 

Tip for July, 2015

Being organized may not reduce your taxes but it can help you avoid overpayment.  For example, if you donate your time to a charity you may be able to deduct certain expense (such as mileage) but only if you document and claim them.  One-time charitable donations early in the year may be forgotten by tax time.  Don't wait until the end of the year to document your contributions/donations.  Keep track as you go to maximize your deduction later. 

Tip for June, 2015

Many employers allow you to make charitable contributions by payroll deduction.  This makes donation easy and record-keeping simple.  Just keep a copy of your W-2 or other document furnished by your employer that shows the total withheld for charitable donation.  You should also keep a copy of the pledge card that shows the name of the charity.
For federal workers (civilian, postal and military) you may make donations to the Winn Feline Foundation through the Combined Federal Campaign (#10321). 

Tip for May, 2015

To deduct your charitable donations it is important to keep good records.  Cash donations should be documented with financial records (i.e. a cancelled check, bank or credit card statement, etc.) or a written statement from the charity with its name, the date and amount of your contribution.

Tip for April, 2015

With the stock market at near record highs, now is a great time to donate publicly traded securities like stocks or mutual funds to the Winn Feline Foundation.  If you have held the security for *at least* one year you may deduct the securities' current fair market value without recognizing any gain on the appreciation.  You may avoid not only federal capital gains taxes but state taxes too.

Tip for March, 2015

Thank you to everyone who donated to the Winn Feline Foundation in 2014.  Your contributions are greatly appreciated and help benefit cats everywhere.  As you prepare your 2014 tax returns, don't forget that you may be able to deduct your donation as a charitable contribution.  For most individuals, you should file Form 1040 and itemize deductions on Schedule A.

Tip for February, 2015 

You probably know you can make a gift to the Winn Feline Foundation in your Will or Trust.  But did you know you may also make Winn primary or secondary beneficiary of other 'due on death' benefits?  These may include life insurance, IRA accounts, certain annuities, pensions or 401(k) plans.
(Be sure to ask your tax advisor about rights of your surviving spouse if applicable.)

Tips in 2016

Tip for December, 2016

They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes.  But with the recent elections, tax policy changes are on the horizon.  Among the proposals by the Trump administration is that itemized deductions may be capped.  If so, that may mean smaller charitable deductions available in future years.  

However, donations made before the end of 2016 still receive their full value regardless of any tax law changes in the future.  Donations of appreciated securities before the end of this year will still receive double tax benefits; you get your charitable deduction while eliminating any capital gains taxes otherwise due on the sale of the securities.  
The future is unknown.  To avoid uncertainty you may accelerate your planned giving into 2016 to take full advantage of current tax benefits.

Tip for November, 2016

Many people today have online assets, accounts, bill payment, auto-deposit, document storage, social media and information which only they can access.  

Until recently most states did NOT have laws to allow your fiduciaries (i.e. Executors, Trustees, Attorneys-In-Fact) to manage your online presence.  The Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (UFADAA) allows fiduciaries access to digital assets.  You may also restrict your fiduciary's access to email, text messages, and social media accounts if you do not consent.  
The UFADAA was amended in 2015 and since then it has been adopted by many states.  You should consult with your attorney from time to time to assure your estate plan is up to date under current law and still reflects your wishes.    

Tip for October, 2016

When making charitable donations be on the alert for scams.  If you are unsure, ask to see their IRS tax determination letter or go to and use the "EO Select Check" tool.  Be aware that some scammers use names deliberately similar to known and respected organizations.  If you are unsure to whom you are giving you should follow up to be sure you are donating to the right organization.  
When donating online ensure the web address is secure.  It should start with "https" and match the charity to which you are donating.  Never give out your credit card number, bank account number or any personal information over the phone unless you know with whom you are dealing. 

Tip for September, 2016

You may own property or other assets that pass directly to your heirs on your death and bypass your Will or Trust.  For example property held in joint tenancy (sometimes called joint tenancy with right of survivorship) will pass to the surviving tenants upon your death.  
Assets that let you name a beneficiary, such as life insurance, annuities, IRAs, pensions, etc., generally will pass to the designated beneficiary directly, regardless of your Will.  
Make sure you advise your attorney about all of your assets when preparing your estate plan.   

Tip for August, 2016

Many charitable organizations, such as the Winn Feline Foundation, are happy to accept shares of stock or mutual funds as donations.  
If you donate appreciated stock you've held more than 12 months you may be able to deduct the full current value of the stock with NO capital gains taxes due.  If you sell the stock yourself and donate the proceeds you may have to pay capital gains tax first.
So donating appreciated stock may mean less in taxes for you and may leave more for donation to Winn.  It's a Winn-win situation. 

Tip for July, 2016

When organizing your estate plan please be aware there are different kinds of estates.  

Your Probate Estate consists of assets which are distributed under the terms of your Will (or intestacy if you have no Will), usually under court supervision.  

Your gross or taxable estate consists of the total of your Probate Estate plus any non-probate assets plus other interests passing to another on your death.  Non-probate assets may include property held in joint tenancy; assets placed in trust; retirement plans, IRA's, annuities, life insurance, payable-on-death bank accounts, transferable-on-death securities accounts and other assets not distributed by your Will.  Real estate may be part of the Probate Estate if held as tenant in common or may be non-probate if held in trust or owned in joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.  
You should keep in mind that changes to your Will do not usually affect non-probate assets.  Care must be taken to assure proper distribution of the non-probate assets in your estate; updating your Will alone may not be enough.

Important Tip for June, 2016

The IRS reports a surge of phone scams in recent years by people claiming to be the IRS.  These scammers often threaten taxpayers with arrest, seizure of assets, deportation, and more.  The IRS states that they will never:
    *Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
    *Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
    *Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
    *Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
    *Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Tip for May, 2016

Life insurance (whole life or term) is an often overlooked way to make charitable gifts.  A gift of life insurance can be as simple as designating the charity as beneficiary or contingent beneficiary.  Life insurance proceeds can go to the charity directly without probate, court costs, legal fees or unnecessary delays.  The full benefit will go to the charity even if the donor dies after making only a few premium payments.  A charitable gift can be made using life insurance without affecting assets earmarked for family members, such as a family home or business.  It can also result in a federal estate tax deduction for the full amount paid to the charity.  Current gifts of a life insurance policy itself, or a life insurance trust, may even create current income tax deductions now for the donor.  Consult your tax advisor for more details.

Tip for April, 2016

Will you be changing your name because of a marriage, divorce, adoption or other event this year?  On your tax return the name you use for yourself, your spouse or a dependent must match the name on record with the Social Security Administration (SSA).  If the names on your tax return do not match SSA records it may cause delays when you file your taxes or prevent earnings from being posted to your SSA record.  For information about how to change your name with the SSA and get a corrected Social Security card go to:

Tip for March, 2016 

A charitable life estate is a gift of real property to charity in which the donor reserves the right to live on the property (often a family home) until death.  Since it is a completed charitable gift the donor may receive an immediate tax deduction based on the value of the remainder interest passed to the charity years later.  The property is also removed from the donor’s estate so there is no estate tax and less property to administer.  Since a personal residence may produce no immediate income there may be no reduction in current cash flow.  Like other charitable deductions, any unused amount from a charitable life estate donation may be carried forward five years.

Tip for February, 2016

One often overlooked part of estate planning is making sure your heirs/family know who to contact after your death and where to find your documents, records and assets.  It may be helpful to create a list which can be updated as needed.  This would include the location of your original Will, Trust(s), life insurance policies or other estate planning papers.  You should provide the names and contact information for your attorney, accountant, stockbroker or other financial advisors.  You should list the places you keep important personal records like birth, marriage, death certificates, deeds, financial statements and records.  Of course you should include information about your bank, brokerage or retirements accounts and your other assets or sources of income.  As you gather your financial information and records to prepare your 2015 tax return, now would be a good time to prepare or update your list.

Tip for January, 2016

The holiday season brings many solicitations for charitable contributions from many worthy causes.  But how can you be sure the organization asking for donations has qualified as a public charity?  The IRS has a solution.  Go to their web site at: You can search for the status of charitable organizations by name or EIN (their tax ID number). Winn Feline Foundation (EIN 23-7138699) is a fully qualified public charity.  Your donations to Winn are deductible as charitable contributions to the fullest extent permitted by law. 

Tips in 2017

Tip for December, 2017

Some taxpayers who don't itemize deductions may be overpaying their income taxes.  Now is the time to review your situation to determine if you should itemize your deductions. You still have time to make last-minute changes to your deductions.  
Common itemized deductions include charitable contributions, mortgage interest, state and local taxes; or medical and dental expenses.  Certain miscellaneous items such as some job-related expenses, casualty or theft losses, union dues or tax preparation fees may be deductible.  Even gambling losses may be deductible up to the amount of gambling income.  
If you are close to or exceed your standard deduction threshold there are things you can do to increase your itemized deductions.  
                *You can donate appreciated stock directly to a qualified charity.  This may be a double tax benefit if there is long-term gain which would have been taxable if you sold the stock.
                *Charitable donations are deductible when paid.  If you already planned to make a donation next year you can make the donations before the end of this year to increase your itemized deductions this year.
                *Pay your taxes this year including property taxes and other tax payments which may be payable next year. 
Note that for some taxpayers moving deductions between tax years may result in itemized deductions in one year and using the standard deduction in another.  Done properly this can produce a lower tax burden over the two years.  If you already itemize deductions, moving deductions into this year may speed up your tax benefit and avoid the uncertainty of future changes in the tax law.  Remember that for most itemized deductions you must use the deduction in the year paid.  
You should review your tax situation and may any necessary changes before year's end while there is still time. 

Tip for November, 2017

In recent years the Tuesday following Thanksgiving has unofficially become "Giving Tuesday"
After the more commercial shopping events such as "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" it helps focus attention on charitable giving during the holiday season.  
This year Giving Tuesday will be on November 28, 2017.  
If your holiday season includes charitable giving, please consider the Winn Feline Foundation.  Winn has funded over $6 million in health research for cats at more than 30 partner institutions worldwide.  
As a 501(c)(3) organization, donations to Winn are fully tax deductible. 

Tip for October, 2017

Tax reform is a top legislative topic currently under discussion in Congress.

There are several changes being proposed under which your charitable donation today may produce a greater tax benefit than waiting to donate in future tax years.  
(1) Itemized deductions may be capped in the future. Since charitable contributions are included in your itemized deductions, your tax benefit may decrease.  
(2) If income tax rates are lowered in future years the amount of your net tax benefit from a charitable donation may decrease. 
(3)  If the standard deduction is increased, some taxpayers may no longer itemize their deductions.  Those taxpayers may lose their charitable deduction completely.  
A charitable donation today benefits the charity now and may give you a tax deduction this tax year.  The same tax benefits may not be as available to you in future years.  

Tip for September, 2017

The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers about fake charities soliciting contributions for hurricane relief.  
The IRS suggests ways to avoid scam artists posing as charitable organizations by following these tips (edited for brevity):  "Be sure to donate to recognized charities.  Be wary of charities with names that are similar to familiar or nationally known organizations. ... Don't give out personal financial information - such as Social Security numbers or credit card and bank account numbers and passwords - to anyone who solicits a contribution. ... Never give or send cash... contribute by check or credit card or another way that provides documentation of the donation."  
Before making a donation you can determine if the organization is a qualified charity at:   

Tip for August, 2017

Did you know you can make a charitable donation with a P.O.D. account?
P.O.D. stands for "Pay on Death". You can name a charity on your savings, checking, CD, or other bank account(s) as your beneficiary when you die. If it is a joint account, such as you and your spouse, the P.O.D. provision will take effect only after the death of the survivor. 
During your lifetimes the money is fully under your control. You can add money, take money out, transfer funds, change or close the account at any time. You have full independence and control of these assets during your lifetime(s) and can change arrangements at any time. On the death of the last of the named owners any funds remaining in the account(s) will go to the charity you designated. 

Tip for July, 2017

Many Americans take the standard deduction while others itemize their deductions.  If you aren't sure which is better for you don't wait until after the end of your tax year.  If it is a close call there are steps you can take now to help push you over the line.  
Since you take tax deductions in the year paid, you might want to make your charitable contributions for next year sooner, before this year ends.  That would double up your charitable deduction total into one year.  If you donate stock which has appreciated over the years you can get a double tax benefit.  You can get an itemized deduction based on the current fair market value of the stock while avoiding the capital gains taxes that would have been due on sale.  
Certain other deductions can be shifted into this year as well or some income deferred into the next.  For some taxpayers it may be advantageous to itemize deductions in one year and take the standard deduction in others.  By planning ahead you may have a lower combined tax burden over two years.  

Tip for June, 2017

An often overlooked way to make charitable contributions is by using other peoples' money.  Socially conscious businesses may donate a portion of their proceeds to charity or by offering matching funds.  
For example, the online retailer Amazon has a program called Amazon Smile.  By enrolling and using the "Smile" site Amazon will make donations of 0.5% of qualifying purchases.  You need to sign up and select the Winn Feline Foundation Inc.  Winn also works with the IGive and Giving Assistant programs to receive additional contributions.
Some employers will match employee donations to qualified charities (usually up to a certain amount).  If your employer has a matching program but needs additional information to include Winn we can assist them with any paperwork. When you donate, the following email acknowledgment has a method to check if your employer will offer a matching donation or view Winn's matching gift program webpage
Don't forget at tax time that you can only deduct the amount of your charitable contributions, not money given by others.

Tip for May, 2017

Now that tax season is behind us, it's time to review the amount of income taxes withheld from your paycheck.  

If you owe too much money when you file your return you may face penalties for underpayment.  

However, if you  received a large refund you may wish to lower your withholding and have more take-home available now.   While some people opt for a bigger refund they are, in essence, making an interest free loan of their money to the government.   If you are overpaying and wish to have more money available now complete Form W-4, Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate, and submit it to your employer.  
If you underpaid your income taxes you can submit a new W-4 to increase your withholdings.

Tip for April, 2017

While volunteer services for a charity aren't tax deductible you may be able to deduct expenses. You may deduct your actual costs of using your vehicle for charity or use the standard mileage rate.  
For 2017 the standard mileage rate for operating your personal motor vehicle in service of a charity will be 14 cents per mile driven.  In addition to either your actual costs or the standard mileage rate, you may also deduct your parking and tolls.  
You must keep reliable records and itemize your deductions to claim charitable car expenses. 

Tip for March, 2017

You must be able to document any charitable donations you deduct on your tax return.  Cash donations should have a bank record such as a canceled check or credit card receipt (with the name of the charity) or a written record from the organization. The writing must include the date, the amount and the organization that received the donation. 
For charitable contributions greater than $250 you must have an acknowledgment from the qualified organization.  For payroll deductions you can keep a copy of your W-2, pay stub, or other employer furnished document.  For federal workers your Combined Federal Campaign pledge card should be retained.  Additional rules apply for donations of property.  You don't submit these records or receipts with your tax return but they should be available in case of an audit.

Tip for February, 2017

One often overlooked source of charitable deductions is giving through an employer's payroll plan.  These plans are easy and convenient, which may also make them easy to forget.  
Be sure to include these contributions which may be found on your pay stub, form W-2 or other document furnished by your employer.  These need not be sent in with your tax return but should be retained for your records along with the pledge card that shows the name of the charity.  
For federal workers you may make donations to the Winn Feline Foundation through the Combined Federal Campaign (#10321).

Tip for January, 2017

When making donations some taxpayers may transfer funds from their IRA to an eligible charitable organization.  These transferred amounts are counted in determining whether the donor has met the required minimum distribution from their IRA.  
To do so the donor must be 70 ½ years of age or older.  Up to $100,000 a year may be transferred tax-free directly to an eligible organization.  More information about qualified charitable distributions may be found in Publication 590 B, Distributions from Individual Retirement Arrangements.

Tips in 2018

Tip for December 2018

Traditional IRAs require minimum annual distributions once you become 70 1/2 years of age.  Generally distributions from a traditional IRA are taxable and the penalty for skipping a minimum distribution is 50% of the minimum distribution missed.  A qualified charitable distribution (QCD) is a nontaxable distribution made directly by the trustee of your IRA to a qualified charity by which you may satisfy the distribution requirement.  By having your trustee transfer funds directly from an IRA to an eligible charity the amounts transferred count toward your minimum distribution but are not subject to taxation.  For donors 70 ½ years of age or older up to $100,000 a year may be transferred tax-free from your IRA directly to charitable organizations.  A QCD won’t be part of your taxable income so you DO NOT need to itemize your taxes in order to take advantage of the rule.  You must make your QCD by December 31 and the charity must be a 501(c)(3) organization, such as the Winn Feline Foundation, to exclude that amount from your taxable income and avoid the penalty for failing to make the minimum distribution.  For more information please see IRS Publication 590 B.

Tip for November 2018

With the holiday season upon us it is important to remember the spirit of kindness and charity.  “Giving Tuesday” is held each year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.  In contrast to the commercial shopping events such as “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” it helps focus attention on giving to charity during the holiday season. This year Giving Tuesday will be on November 27, 2018. If your holiday season includes charitable giving, please consider the Winn Feline Foundation. As a 501(c)(3) organization, your donations to Winn are tax deductible to the fullest extent under federal law. Since 1968, Winn Feline Foundation has funded over $6.4 million in health research for cats at more than 30 partner institutions world-wide. For further information, go to

Tip for October 2018

Millions of Americans now have more than one source of income. Side hustles in the “gig economy” such as Uber or Lyft or Airbnb have grown increasingly popular. Many employers are hiring part time employees, temporary employees, or independent contractors. Other income sources may be as diverse as rental income, services provided for compensation, yard/garage sales, or sales on Amazon, Etsy, or Craigslist. Experts believe as many as 1/3 of taxpayers have some second source of income.

Any time you earn $600 or more from a source they should provide you with a 1099 form and the IRS is sent a copy. For income sources that do not provide 1099 forms, you are responsible for keeping records and reporting the income to the IRS. In addition, you may be responsible for making quarterly tax payments on the extra income. Failure to do so could result in penalties and interest in addition to the taxes due. While the extra money may help family finances, failure to report this income may have serious tax consequences. ______________________________________________________________________________

Tip for September 2018

Charitable giving often comes from the heart, but for some people it may also reduce their tax liability. In tax the year 2018, many Americans’ federal income tax bills will change. 
The standard deduction has been increased to $12,000.00 for single taxpayers or married filing separately; $24,000.00 for married taxpayers filing jointly or qualifying widow(er); and $18,000.00 for heads of household. Common deductions such as state and local income, sales and property taxes; home mortgage interest; moving expenses; and certain miscellaneous itemized deductions; have been cut or even eliminated. 
If the new standard deduction exceeds your itemized deductions there may be no tax benefits from itemizing charitable donations. Certain taxpayers may find it advantageous to itemize deductions in one year and take the standard deduction in another. If you anticipate your itemized deductions will exceed the standard deduction this year but not next, you might want to make your charitable contributions for next year before this year ends. That would double up your charitable deduction into one year. 
Many financial or tax preparation packages have the ability to make “what if” estimates of your taxes based on past filings and current trends. By planning ahead and moving deductions between years you may be able to lower your total tax liability over a two year span.

Tip for August 2018

If you or your family have established a gift to Winn Feline Foundation as part of your will or estate planning, Winn has founded a legacy society as part of our planned giving program.

Winn will offer website recognition for those members who wish to be acknowledged for a lifetime legacy of support for feline health. Additional benefits will also be provided as Winn launches the society in the coming few months. 

Tip for July 2018

Blended families, where one or both spouses have children from another partner, may present special challenges when making your estate plan. People may wish to provide for their spouse for life and give the children inheritances after the surviving spouse dies. But outright bequests to the spouse allow the survivor to make different plans than the deceased spouse intended.

An Irrevocable Trust, with income to the surviving spouse for life and the remainder to the children, may create a conflict of interest if the surviving spouse is Trustee. For example, the Trustee may invest Trust property in a way that maximizes current income at the expense of capital preservation for remainder beneficiaries. Or a power to invade the principal of the Trust in special circumstances may become a source of conflict.

Insurance policies often leave money to the spouse, then the children. But in practice once the spouse receives the proceeds he or she is free to us the money in any manner. Beneficiary designations on retirement accounts or insurance policies may trump provisions in your Will or Trust. 

Since stepchildren are not generally considered legal heirs they may not inherit unless specifically named. Estate planning for blended families requires good communication between the spouses and with their attorney so that assets go to the intended beneficiaries.

Tip for June 2018

Discussing your estate plan should include all of the property and possessions you pass to others on your death. However, the word “estate” is often used in terms to describe specific kinds of property distributed when you die. 

Your “probate estate” means those assets that will be governed by your Will, or intestacy if you have no Will, when you pass. Your probate estate is governed by state law and administration may be under court supervision. 

Your taxable estate (sometimes called gross estate) consists of your probate estate plus any non-probate assets passing on your death which are subject to taxation (less any lawful deductions).

Assets not included in your probate estate which may be included in your taxable estate could consist of property held in joint tenancy (including certain real estate, bank or other financial accounts), property held in tenancy by the entirety, assets placed in trust, life insurance, pensions, retirement plans, payable on death accounts or certain other assets.

Your federal taxable estate may even include certain gifts made prior to you death. It is important to know that changes to your Will may only govern your probate estate. It may not affect distribution of your non-probate assets. 

In preparing your estate plan you should consult with your attorney so that all of your assets will be distributed.

Tip for May 2018

There is a saying: “The only thing that doesn’t change, is things will always change”.  You should review and update your estate plan whenever there are significant changes in your circumstances or the law.  For example, older estate plans may include provisions to maximize Federal or state tax deduction or exemption amounts which may no longer be appropriate or necessary.  

Significant changes may occur in your life; the lives of your spouse, heirs and beneficiaries.  You should also review your personal representatives such as your Executor, Trustee, Guardians for children, conservators, any attorney in fact, custodian for your pets or others charged with carrying out your wishes.  Life changes may include moving to a new home (especially in another state), marriages, divorces, births, deaths, adoptions, children reaching the age of majority, health-related issues, college, or finances.  Changes in finances might include a new job, filing for disability, retirement, inheritances or other windfalls, starting or selling a business, financial setbacks, buying or selling property, changes in the nature or location of your assets or even changes in your income tax situation.  

Of course, you should review your estate plan whenever your priorities or desires regarding your estate plan change as well.  Even if you aren’t sure if changes are significant, experts recommend you review your estate plan at least once every 3-5 years.

Tip for April 2018

Thanks to recent changes in tax law the individual exemption from Federal estate, gift and generation-skipping taxes has been increased to $10 million (before indexing for inflation) for tax years 2018 through 2025.  (Note: unless extending the personal exemption will later revert to $5 million, indexed.)  

The IRS has determined that after indexing in 2018 one person may exempt from Federal estate tax up to $11.2 million in assets.  Married couples may be able to exclude $22.4 million from estate tax for 2018 using a tax provision called “portability”.  Using portability the personal representative may elect to transfer decedent’s unused estate tax exemption amounts to the surviving spouse to reach the $22.4 million.  In addition the annual exclusion from federal gift tax increases in 2018 to $15,000 per donor for each donee.  For example a couple may each gift a person $15,000 for a total gift of $30,000 to one person from the couple.  If the donee is married the couple may gift the spouse another $30,000 free of federal gift tax.  This means fewer estates will be subject to Federal taxation and may mean more opportunity to make planning for avoidance of Federal income taxes a priority.

Tip for March 2018

Durable powers of attorney can be an important part of your estate plan. Wills are testamentary instruments, meaning they take effect upon your death. A power of attorney is a legal document in which you (as principal) allow your agent (called the attorney in fact) to act on your behalf in specified matters while you are still alive. Traditional powers of attorney are terminated when you die or become incompetent. A durable power of attorney either becomes effective (springing) or remains effective if you later become incompetent.

With durable powers of attorney your agent may be able to take care of your affairs without going to court for guardianship or conservatorship proceedings if you become incapacitated. Durable powers of attorney are often divided into financial and medical powers.

Financial powers may allow your attorney in fact to pay your family’s expenses, manage your bank accounts and investments, collect your Social Security or other benefits, operate your business, pay your taxes or take care of other financial matters as you designate.

Your medical power of attorney can allow (or prohibit) your agent from approving certain medical procedures on your behalf. In most states your medical power of attorney may also include provisions about donations of your body parts after death (either to permit or forbid) and may include provisions about disposition of your remains. Your agent (attorney in fact) is required to follow your wishes and act in your best interests.

You may revoke or modify a durable power of attorney as long as you are mentally competent. Durable powers of attorney end on your death so they cannot take the place of a Will or Trust. Please consult with your attorney to learn now durable powers of attorney may fit into your estate plan. 

Tip for February 2018

Have you made provision for care of your pet(s) in the event of your death?  All 50 U.S. States now allow “pet trusts” to care for pets.  Your lawyer can advise of you about the laws and limitations in your state.   There are, however, general considerations you should discuss with your lawyer.  

Pet trusts provide for animals who are alive at the time of your passing and end when the last pet dies.   Unless an animal has special needs or is treated differently than your other pets it may be best to describe your pets generically.  The pets you own today may not be the same pets you have when you expire.  

Your pets will need a caretaker.  This person will have physical custody of your pets and will be responsible for their day-to-day care.  It is important that the person named be willing to accept the responsibility.  Ask first before naming someone.  You should also name alternates to succeed the caretaker if they become unable or unwilling to serve.

You need a Trustee or other person to monitor your money and assure your wishes are being met by the caretaker.  Having two different people, one as caretaker and one distribute Trust money, provides checks and balances.  Again, it is best to prepare for successors should the need arise.

Funding the pet trust can be an issue.  You should set aside enough money to properly care for your pets during their lifetimes.  This amount will depend on the number, age, and health of your pets.  You should put aside enough money to handle unexpected illness or other expenses.  But if you set aside too much it could invite a legal challenge from your heirs.  One way to deter challenges is to name a charity as the remainder beneficiary for any unused funds from the pet trust.

Finally, remember that a Will goes into effect when you die.  You may become incapacitated and need help with your pets prior to your passing.  A “Living Trust” (inter vivos trust) can be effective prior to your   death.  A pet provision in your Living Trust provides for your pets if you become incapacitated.  A durable power of attorney may also be used to appoint a caretaker to deal with your pets in the event of incapacity.  Please consult with your attorney for details.

Tip for January 2018

Tax changes are coming in 2018.  But most people are not done with their 2017 returns, due April 17, 2018.  You can start now to make things easier for you at tax time.  
Watch your mail and inbox and make sure not to miss any tax documents sent you by third parties.  Make a list of documents you needs to complete your return, such as W-2s, 1099s, mortgage interest statements, ACA documentation and the like.  Gather up your financial records, receipts or other tax information accumulated during the year so they are together.  Be sure to have documentation for any sales of stocks, bonds or other assets during the year, including your purchase price or other tax basis.  
If any documentation is missing try to get copies now, don't wait until your return is due.  Starting your homework now may help make things less stressful when preparing your return later.

TIps for 2019​

Tip for November 2019

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is unofficially known as “Giving Tuesday”.  Following “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” the day was created to remind people of the value of philanthropy and encourage charitable giving during the holiday season.  Although Giving Tuesday is not an official federal holiday in the United States, it has been growing in popularity since it was introduced in 2012.  It is a holiday with no special rules and anyone can participate from their home or office.

The Winn Feline Foundation is an IRC section 501(c)(3) charitable organization and your donations to Winn are tax deductible.  Founded in 1968, Winn is a public charity devoted to the welfare of all cats by developing or participating in projects for their betterment, including the funding of research and education.  Over the years Winn as funded almost $7 million in health research for cats.  Your donations to Winn can be made at:

Tip for October 2019

Charitable trusts can be an important part of estate planning for some taxpayers.  With charitable remainder trusts you place assets into an irrevocable trust.  The beneficiary (such as you and/or your spouse) receives income during the term of the trust.  The term may be up to 20 years or for the life of a beneficiary.  At the end of the trust the “remainder” is given to charity.  There are several advantages to a charitable remainder trust.  You or another beneficiary receive a cash stream during the trust term.  You may receive a current income tax deduction when you fund the trust, based on a calculation of the value of the remainder given to charity. Placing highly appreciated assets into the trust may avoid capital gains tax.  It may reduce your estate taxes at the end.  Variations on this theme include charitable remainder annuity trusts, charitable remainder unitrusts, and pooled income trusts.  On the other hand, charitable lead trusts give the charity income up front (in the “lead”) with the remainder back to non-charitable beneficiaries.  This can produce a large, up-front income tax deduction.  Please consult your estate planning professional to determine if a charitable trust is right for you.


Tip for August 2019

It has been estimated that more than half of U.S. families are “blended”.  This means one or more of the partners is remarried or re-coupled. Blended families may face additional concerns when doing estate planning.  Planning may be an issue when there are children from prior relationships.  A simple Will may be insufficient to assure that your biological children receive what you intended if you should predecease your partner.  A trust may provide income for your partner during their lifetime with some assets passing to your children on the death of the surviving partner.  You may also wish to provide for your children by making a gift to them upon your death if you should pass before your partner.  In addition, you should decide who will make health care decisions for you if you become incapacitated.  With the help of an attorney your estate plan could provide for your loved ones even in blended families.


Tip for June 2019

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 raised the standard deduction for individuals and married couples.  It also reduced, eliminated, or capped certain deductions.  The amount you can take for charitable deductions increased.  But unless you have enough other deductions you do better taking the standard deduction.  If you do so you will not be able to deduct your charitable contributions.  As a result you may need new strategies to maximize your tax benefits.  If you are close to itemizing you can use timing to “bunch” donations.  You can make donations intended for 2020 in 2019 to help overcome the threshold for itemizing.  Another strategy is to donate appreciated securities (such as stocks or certain mutual funds).  By donating appreciated assets you may avoid the costs of selling them yourself, as well as eliminating taxes on the gain.  This works best with assets that have a low adjusted basis compared to current fair market value.​​


Tip for May 2019

Have you filed your 2018 federal tax return but need to make a correction?  IRS Tax Tip 2019-51 can assist taxpayers who need to amend a prior tax return.  The IRS advises that an amended return should be filed if there's a change in your filing status, income, deductions or credits.  In summary the IRS recommends these simple tips: Use the Interactive Tax Assistant.  Click the link “Should I file an Amended Return?”

  • Taxpayers who are due refunds from their original 2018 tax return should wait to get it before filing an  amended return to claim an additional refund.
  • File on paper. Taxpayers can’t file amended returns electronically.
  • Amend to correct errors such as income, deductions and credits.
  • Don’t amend for math errors. The IRS can automatically correct these.
  • Don’t amend for missing forms. The IRS will mail a request for missing forms.
  • File within the three-year time limit.
  • Pay any additional tax as soon as possible to avoid potential penalties and interest.
  • Track your amended return


Tip for April 2019

It may be several years before the full effect of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” can be determined.  The Act affects both federal income taxes as well as federal gift and estate taxes.  Some popular income tax deductions have been reduced or eliminated.  The standard deduction has been increased, which may mean fewer taxpayers will itemize.  One income tax deduction which has increased is the charitable deduction.  Taxpayers may now deduct charitable contributions of up to 60% of their adjusted gross income, an increase from a cap of 50% in prior years.  Changes have been made to the unified gift and estate tax exemption which may reduce the number of estates subject to federal taxation.  However, some of the changes are set to expire in 2025.  Now is a good time to meet with your estate and tax planner(s) to determine if there are either new tax planning opportunities or tax rules that have been changed by the Act.


Tip for March 2019

Many taxpayers have already discovered that they will owe additional money when filing their federal income tax returns this year.  Changes to federal tax law reduced taxes for some individuals but eliminated or reduced common deductions for others.  Changes in the withholding tables have also left some taxpayers unexpectedly owing money with their returns.  If you are unable to pay your taxes in full by the tax deadline it is still important that you file your tax return on time.  The failure to file penalty often much greater than the failure to pay penalty.  The penalty for failure to file can be 5% of unpaid taxes per month up to 25% of the unpaid amount owed.  The failure-to-pay penalty is 0.5% of your unpaid taxes for each month your outstanding taxes are unpaid.  (If you don’t file your tax return in an attempt to commit tax fraud the penalties can be significantly higher, including jail time.)  Unpaid taxes are also subject to interest.  If you take an extension to file your return the extension is only to file, the taxes are still due.  So if you find that you can’t pay your taxes in full by tax day it is still important that you still file your return, or file an extension, by April 15, 2019.


Tip for February 2019

Income tax reforms going into effect in 2018 may have changed the amount of income taxes due on your return.  The new, higher standard deductions and lower tax rates could increase refunds for many taxpayers.  But reduced withholdings from paychecks, the elimination of personal exemptions, and limitations on certain itemized deductions could result in a higher tax bill this year for others.  If you receive a much larger refund when you file your 2018 return that’s both good news and bad news.  A large refund means, in essence, that you have made an interest free loan of your money to the government.  The IRS has a tax tool to help you determine the proper withholding amounts for your paycheck:  However, as you file your 2018 taxes you should review your withholding amounts.  Proper withholding can increase the size of your paycheck and let you enjoy your money sooner.  ​​


Tip for January 2019

While 2018 may be over there are still things you can do to help you with your tax returns for that year.  You have until April 15, 2019 to make tax deductible contributions to a traditional IRA.  You also have until that date to make a non-deductible contribution to a Roth IRA for 2018.  While a non-deductible contribution you won’t get the benefit of a deduction you will begin compounding tax free earnings in the account earlier.  With Keogh or SEP plans you may be able to take a filing extension to October 15, 2019 and make your 2018 contributions before that date. 

You should also begin gathering the documents you needs to complete your return, such as W-2s, 1099s, mortgage interest statements, ACA documentation and other records.  If you added a baby in 2018 don’t forget to file for your child's Social Security card right away.  If you don’t have the number in time for filing your 2018 return the IRS says you should file for an extension. While these steps won’t save you taxes directly, it will make filing easier and you may be less likely to miss deductions. 

Lifetime Gifts

Gifts made during your lifetime are a great way to contribute to the advancement of feline health. You can honor the special cats in your life, a veterinarian who made a difference or a milestone for your cat. Gifts of any amount are always appreciated, and we put them right to work funding the studies that improve the lives of cats everywhere.

A series gift is a great option if you have an amount in mind, but cannot make it all in one donation. Simply let Winn know the total amount you wish to give and the period of time over which you’d like to give it. We will send you reminders at the designated dates.

Property donations are an excellent way to serve both your tax needs and the advancement of feline health research. If you have investments or real estate interests that are appreciated in value, you can transfer them to Winn. The current value of the property is tax deductible to you, and you may avoid paying income tax or capital gains tax that would otherwise result if you sold the property at a gain.

A life estate is a way to donate your property and keep it, too. Transfer your real property to the foundation and retain the right to use it during your lifetime. The gift is tax deductible when you make it, and you retain the use of the property for as long as you wish. This type of giving works particularly well with real estate. You can even continue to receive income from any investment properties for your lifetime.

Please consult your financial professional for tax advice that is specific to your individual situation.

Bequests: Remember Winn in your will

Add Winn Feline Foundation to your estate plans with a gift of any size. If you choose to name Winn as a beneficiary, please notify us when the will is executed. Winn recommends consulting with your attorney when drafting a will.

A specific bequest is a gift of a specified amount of money or of specific items of property. It could be land, stock, jewelry, a stamp collection, a car or any other personal property.

A percentage bequest is a gift of a certain percentage of your estate or a particular asset. For example, you might specify that your house be sold and that your heirs and Winn each receive half of the proceeds.

A residual bequest is a gift of all or a portion of the residue of your estate — what remains after debts and the expenses of the estate are paid, and all specific bequests to family, friends and other charities are honored. You may name Winn Feline Foundation as beneficiary of the whole residue or a portion of it.

A contingent bequest is a way to remember Winn Feline Foundation even if other needs must take priority. For example, you may wish to leave your estate to your spouse (or another person) if he or she survives you, and name Winn as beneficiary if your primary beneficiary does not survive you. Or, you may make your bequest contingent on the residue of the estate being a certain amount or more.

We will be happy to discuss your estate plans with you, your attorney, estate planner or financial advisor. Please contact Alisa Salvaggio, our Donor Care Specialist, at

Winn Feline Foundation is exempt from Federal Income Tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Accordingly, your contributions to Winn may be deductible for federal income, gift and estate tax purposes. Tax ID: 23-7138699.