James (Jim) Parker ’67 (Humanities and Fine Arts) Has One Question:
‘Do You Like Paying Taxes?’

The 1964 UMass Amherst Varsity Cross Country Team, including James Parker

The 1964 UMass Amherst Varsity Cross Country Team, including James Parker

When Jim enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst he was a small-town kid from Chelmsford, Massachusetts, moving from a high school class of 153 students to a campus of 10,000. He was a little daunted. But, he soon found a home with the cross-country team, as he completed a history degree. Being on the team, "gave me a social connection," he says. "It helped me get more acclimatized to the University."

Then, the roller coaster ride of post-college life happened. Jim kept on track with turning challenges into opportunities. He overcame an injury while on duty in the Vietnam War, spending two months in a Japanese hospital. He returned home and remained in the Army Reserve as he began a long and successful career in sales at Proctor and Gamble and later as an independent sales and marketing consultant.

He retired in 2014 with "a very nice head start on a nest egg," an insurance policy from his 29 years in the Army Reserve and a commitment to philanthropy.

Jim's charitable giving hit a challenge when he turned 70½ years old and was subject to U.S. tax law that requires all Americans who are 70½ or older to take required minimum distributions from their IRAs each year.

When working, Jim was in the 15 percent tax bracket. But once he passed the 70½ mark, "all of a sudden, I was put in the 28 percent tax bracket!"

Jim Parker

Jim's gift not only allows him to make an impact at UMass Amherst today, it provides him with tax benefits as well.

He preferred charitable giving over paying more taxes. As he studied the issue, he learned about qualified charitable distributions (QCD), which became a permanent part of the tax code in 2015.

QCDs (sometimes referred to as IRA charitable rollover gifts) may lower tax bills by lowering taxable income when required minimum distributions are contributed directly to a nonprofit institution from the IRA administrator.

Jim seized the opportunity. Having given to UMass cross-country for 40 years, he wanted to ramp up his efforts to improve the student athlete experience. In 2016, Jim and his wife made a large gift to renovate the locker room for men's track and field and cross-country athletes—now the Joanne and Jim Parker '67 Locker Room.

Today, he achieves his goals by using QCDs to fulfill his giving and urges other retirees to do so as well. "I'm not dead yet!" he says laughing. "So I get to enjoy this now."

Part of that joy is serving as a fixture at the cross-country meets and helping to improve facilities.

"It's a win-win-win situation."

To learn more about using your IRA to support UMass students, or for help finding another way to give, contact Theresa M. Curry, JD at gift.planning@umass.edu or 413-577-1418.

A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to the University of Massachusetts Amherst a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I designate _________________ to the University of Massachusetts Amherst at Memorial Hall, 134 Hicks Way, Amherst, MA 01003-9270. I request this gift be used for __________________ (for instance, a specific department, college, school or program, a scholarship, or for general purposes of the campus)."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to UMass Amherst or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the potential tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to UMass Amherst as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to UMass Amherst as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and UMass Amherst where you agree to make a gift to UMass Amherst and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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