Frequently Asked Questions

What assets can I use to make a gift to Johns Hopkins?
Generally speaking, during your lifetime you can make an outright gift of cash (via check or wire transfer), securities or other property (e.g., real estate, personal property).

Through your will or living trust or with a distribution from a retirement plan or life insurance policy, you can designate a gift to Johns Hopkins.

What sort of gift plans also return income to me?
You have the option of making a gift that returns income to you, your spouse or other individuals, such as a charitable gift annuity, or a charitable remainder unitrust or annuity trust.

What tax deduction will I receive for my gift?
Your tax benefits will depend on several factors: the type of gift, the time at which it is made, whether it is outright or deferred and whether it includes income payments. In general, though, here are some guidelines:

  • Outright gifts to Johns Hopkins generate a full income tax charitable deduction. Outright gifts of appreciated securities are deductible at fair market value, with no recognition of capital gains.
  • Gifts of personal property, like art, books and collectibles, are fully deductible so long as they are relevant to Johns Hopkins's mission. We can advise you on this point. Click here for contact information.
  • Bequests do not generate a lifetime income-tax deduction. However, they are exempt from estate tax.
  • Similarly, life insurance distributions to Johns Hopkins are not income-tax deductible, but are exempt from estate tax. If you have made us the irrevocable owner and beneficiary of a policy during your lifetime, you may deduct annual gifts that offset premium payments and possibly the value of your policy at the time of contribution (for more details on this point, see Question 4 below).
  • The charitable deduction for a gift that returns income to you, such as a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust, is the fair market value of the gift asset minus the present value of the income interest you retain.

I want to set up a life insurance policy, name Johns Hopkins as beneficiary, but retain ownership of the policy. Can I deduct the premium payments I make?
No. The IRS would not consider that a "completed gift," because, as the owner of the policy, you could change the beneficiary designation to a friend or family member. To be deductible, we must be made the irrevocable owner of the policy for gifts offsetting premium payments .

I have heard that transferring gifts of IRA assets to charity is advantageous. Why?
Qualified retirement plans, such as IRAs, 401(k), 403(b) and Keoghs, allow individuals to defer paying taxes on a portion of their income until the assets are withdrawn during retirement years. However, after a person's death, these accounts are exposed to income and, in some cases estate, taxes at a combined rate that could rise to 75% or even higher on large taxable estates. The only way to avoid both income and estate tax on your retirement plan is to give those assets to a charity. By designating Johns Hopkins as your beneficiary, you will ensure 100% of the value of your account benefits Johns Hopkins.

I would like to donate a painting. Will you determine its value for my income-tax deduction?
The IRS requires that donors of artwork and collectibles secure an independent appraisal of the items to establish fair market value. The appraisal has to be related to the gift, too – an insurance appraisal will not suffice. We can assist you on this point.

I am interested in establishing a charitable gift annuity. What financial provisions will you make for the income payments to me and my spouse?
Your charitable gift annuity will be treated as a general obligation of Johns Hopkins, backed by all of its assets. Johns Hopkins has an unbroken record in making timely payments to our annuitants, and that ongoing responsibility is a key element in its financial policies.

If I create a bequest or life-income gift, will you continue to ask me for annual contributions?
Your planned gift is a significant addition to our long-term financial strength and our ability to meet the challenges and opportunities the future will bring. However, today's efforts are supported through annual gifts, and we greatly appreciate and encourage any annual support you may want to consider.