The Income Tax Reduction Trust is a type of trust specifically authorized by the Internal Revenue Code. These irrevocable trusts permit you to transfer ownership of assets to the trust in exchange for an income stream to the person or persons of your choice (typically you, your spouse or you and your spouse) for life or for a specified term of up to 20 years. With the most common type of Income Tax Reduction Trust, at the end of the term, the balance of the trust property (the “remainder interest”) is transferred to a specified charity or charities.
Income Tax Reduction Trust also reduce estate taxes because you are transferring ownership to the trust of assets that otherwise would be counted for estate tax purposes.
An Income Tax Reduction Trust can be set up as part of your revocable living trust planning, coming into existence at the time of your death, or as a stand-alone trust during your lifetime. At the time of creation of the this trust you or your estate will be entitled to a charitable deduction in the amount of the current value of the gift that will eventually go to charity. If the income recipient is someone other than you or your spouse there will be gift tax consequences to the transfer.
Income Tax Reduction Trusts are tax-exempt entities. In other words, when a Income Tax Reduction Trust sells an asset it pays no income tax on the gain in that asset. Therefore, after a sale the trust has more available to invest than if the asset were sold outside of the Income Tax Reduction Trust and subject to tax. Accordingly, Income Tax Reduction Trust are particularly suited for highly appreciated assets, such as real estate and stock in a closely held business, or assets subject to income tax such as qualified plans and IRAs.
While the Income Tax Reduction Trust does not pay tax on the sale of its assets, the tax is not avoided altogether. The payments to the income recipient will be subject to tax.
At the end of the term of an Income Tax Reduction Trust, the remainder interest passes to qualified charities as defined under the Internal Revenue Code. Generally, any charity that has received tax-exempt status through an IRS determination qualifies, but this is not always the case. It is also possible for you to name a private foundation established by you as the charitable beneficiary.