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As harvest season approaches, the Benton County Community Foundation wants farmers to know about and consider the opportunity to benefit their local community through a gift of grain.

Donating a gift of grain to the Benton County Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa, is a simple way to make a charitable gift outside of the traditional cash contribution. The value of the grain can be used to start an endowed fund in the name of an individual or family, be given to a specific nonprofit organization or support the overall charitable causes in Benton County.

"Crops are the livelihood of our local farmer," said Terry Gaumer, affiliate development director with the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa. "Farmers work hard to plant, grow, and produce thriving crops which is like what we do with charitable gifts at the Community Foundation. We grow the initial gift of grain and the interest on those funds can be granted out to better the community."

By giving grain to the Community Foundation, farmers can avoid including the sale of the grain in their farm income. Although a charitable income tax deduction is generally not available, the significant benefit is the avoidance of declaring it as income. The cost of growing the crops is deducted, which typically results in saving self-employment tax, federal income tax and state income tax. Benefits can be had even if one does not itemize the deductions and takes the standard deduction. Farmers considering a gift of grain are encouraged to first discuss this option with a tax advisor.

The simplest way to give a gift of grain is to let the Community Foundation know of the intended gift. The gift should be from unsold crop inventory with no sale commitment made prior to the gift. The crop is then taken to the grain buyer and the seller tells the buyer how much grain he/she would like to put into an account set up by the Community Foundation. The grain buyer then notifies the Community Foundation which sells the grain and receives the sale proceeds.

Gifts of grain to endowment funds with a qualified community foundation, like the Benton County Community Foundation, are eligible for a 25% state tax credit on the total value of the gift through the Endow Iowa Tax Credit Program. All qualified donors can carry forward the tax credit for up to five years after the year the donation was made. More information about Endow Iowa can be found at www.cfneia.org/endowiowa.

Questions about gift of grain or other types of gifts can be directed to Terry Gaumer at 319-243-1354 or tgaumer@cfneia.org.

For more information about the Benton County Community Foundation, visit www.bentonccf.org.

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