Guest post by Angie Morris, CPA, Hawkins Cloward and Simister
Often we desire to share our good fortune by contributing to charities for those in need. With tax season underway, you may be evaluating the charitable contributions you made last year and figuring out how you want to make contributions this year. While we tend to donate for altruistic reasons, there is also a tax benefit for making charitable donations. The method through which you gift determines your tax benefit. There are several ways to make a gift to a charitable cause, so which one is right for you?
IRS-approved charity. One of the easiest and most common ways to donate to charity is by giving directly to an IRS-approved charity. Donating in this manner allows you to take a tax deduction based on the fair market value of the gift. Through direct giving you choose the charity, amount and timing of the contribution. A tax deduction for a cash gift would be limited to 50% of your adjusted gross income (AGI) and 30% for securities held more than a year.
Private foundation. If you want to maintain control over investment and grant making decisions, a private foundation may be an effective way for you to donate. A private foundation is an independent charitable corporation, with tax-exempt recognition by the IRS. Private foundations are heavily regulated by the states and the federal government. You will need to follow the compliance requirements including annual distributions and information reporting to the IRS. Individuals that create private foundations often involve their family members with the management of the foundation. Foundations can be costly to establish and operate; therefore, a donation to establish the foundation is usually a significant amount. The tax deduction will be based on the fair market value of the gift. Private foundations have a 30% AGI limit for cash gifts, and 20% for securities held more than one year.
Charitable annuity trust or charitable remainder trust. A charitable annuity trust and charitable remainder trust are a way to leave funds to a charity while receiving a stream of income over your life or a set period of time. An agreement is reached with the charity to leave the remainder of the assets to the charity, but you get income during your lifetime. An annuity trust will give you a fixed amount of income annually, a remainder trust will give you income for a set period of time; once you pass away the charity will keep the remainder of the assets. There are reporting requirements with these types of trusts. The tax deduction will be based on the fair market value of the estimated assets remaining that go to the charity. These types of donations usually involve higher funding amounts.
Donor advised fund. A donor advised fund is a separate account maintained by a public charity that allows you to donate and accumulate funds, and recommend grants. Once you make the donation, the organization has legal control over the funds, but you have advisory privileges on the investment and distribution of the funds. Distributions must be made to public charities. These types of funds are designed as a simple, accessible, and less expensive alternative to a private foundation. There is usually a minimum amount you must contribute to set up the account. The tax deduction is 50% AGI for cash gifts and 30% AGI for securities held over a year.
There are a variety of ways to transfer assets to a charity. Comparing the different options before deciding will ensure that you choose the best for you. Some aspects to consider are the tax benefits, cost and complexity to establish and maintain and input you can have on the investments and charitable giving. Once you compare and contrast the options you can determine the best tool to suit your charitable giving goals.
Angela A. Morris graduated from Brigham Young University. She is a member of the AICPA and the UACPA. She has served as the treasurer of the Utah Association of CPAs and president of the UACPA Southern Chapter. She is currently the vice chair for the Housing Authority of Utah County, the treasurer of the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Network, and on the executive board for the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce. Angie loves spending time at Lake Powell and is a devoted St. Louis Cardinals fan.
By Amy Falke
If there’s still a check sitting in your wallet right now, there are probably a few different reasons you haven’t gotten around to depositing it. Maybe you didn’t make it to the bank before you headed out of state for a week. Perhaps it was just another fast-paced day until you slipped under the covers for some much-needed sleep and you suddenly realized you forgot to deposit that check—again, and your mind began flooding with the next day’s already packed to-do list. Maybe you’ll swing by the bank at lunch.
Mobile ExpressDeposit allows qualified* Bank of American Fork customers to use their mobile device to deposit checks any time— day or night— simply by snapping a picture and sending it through mobile banking, so you can rest easy. Here are the basics of how to use it:
Mobile ExpressDeposit is a secure way to deposit your checks. Learn more about this product here (and click the FAQ for more great info). If you think this might come in handy for you, use your Bank of American Fork app to sign up now, so next time you’ve got a check sitting in your wallet you can deposit it on your lunch break and still have time to enjoy a tasty sandwich.
* To be eligible for Mobile ExpressDeposit, you must be a Bank of American Fork online banking customer with direct ownership of a Bank of American Fork checking or savings account, your account must have been active for at least 60 days, no overdrafts in the last 6 months, and no more than 1 chargeback in the last six months. For consumer accounts there is a $0.50 fee per deposit on the first 20 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 fee per deposit on each deposit over 20. For business accounts there is a $0.50 fee per deposit on the first 60 deposits processed in the calendar month and a $1.00 fee per deposit on each deposit over 60.
†Deposit cut-off time is 6:00PM Mountain Time, Monday – Friday (excluding holidays). Deposits submitted after 6:00PM will be processed on the next business day. Deposits are subject to verification and not available for immediate withdrawal. Deposit limits and other restrictions apply.
By Amy Falke
Details of this trip have been buzzing around your head for the past few weeks and now, as you start your drive to the airport, the to-do list runs through your head one more time. You begin to mentally check things off your list. Ask neighbor to take care of animals, check. Adjust the thermostat, check. Call the bank, check.
What? Call the bank—why would you call the bank?
Letting the bank know your travel plans helps prevent an unexpected block on your bank card. Because Bank of American Fork values cardholder safety, we try to anticipate normal cardholder activity. If a cardholder does something that is outside their normal activity, a “possible fraud” alert may be triggered and a temporary block may be placed on the card. This block remains on the card until the customer confirms the validity of the transaction with the bank or with the fraud monitoring service provider. For example, if most transactions for a card have been in Utah County, when the card registers a transaction in Miami, Florida, it can trigger an alert and may block the card.
The prevalence of international card fraud has caused Bank of American Fork to implement practices that protect customers in these areas, as well. Certain countries have been identified as having higher fraudulent card activity and using your card in these countries may create a block on your card. If a customer is planning to travel internationally, he or she can contact the bank and request that their card be temporarily released from the automatic block. Once the customer returns home, they will not need to contact the bank again. The country blocks will automatically be placed back on the card based on the timeframe provided in the travel plans.
Providing the bank with travel notes of planned locations and time-periods prior to your departure allows the bankcard department to make the necessary adjustments that can ensure uninterrupted card service during and after your trip. For additional questions or to place travel notes, speak to a teller or new accounts person at your local branch, send a secure message through your online banking, or call customer service at 800-815-BANK.
By Amy Falke
If you used your credit or debit card at any Target store between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15, we recommend that you cancel and replace your card even if you have not seen any fraud yet. Target’s systems were breached and card numbers used during these dates were stolen and are at risk of fraud.
In an effort to protect our customers, cards that have we identified as being at risk will be blocked by the end of this week. We are actively reaching out to notify these individuals to inform them of the breach and that their card will be blocked. Blocking these cards is for the benefit and security of our customers. For more information or to block/replace your card, call Bank of American Fork’s customer service representatives at 801-642-3000 or 800-815-BANK. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding this issue:
I didn’t request to block my card. Why was it blocked?
My card was blocked. Why wasn’t I notified?
I used my Bank of American Fork debit or credit card at Target during the compromised window but I do not see any fraudulent activity. Do I really need to block my card?
How do I go about replacing my compromised debit or credit card?
What do I do if I’ve already seen fraud on my account?
If I do see fraud on my account, won’t it just be from Target?
Since my debit card is attached to my checking account, does this mean I need to get a new checking account number too?
If my card hasn’t been blocked does it mean my card information was not compromised?
How do I contact Customer Service?
As more time passes, more information is coming to light about the severity and scope of the Target breach. To better assist its customers in answering Breach related questions, Target has put together a great information page with links about checking your credit, being educated about phishing scams, as well as general identity security tips. Here is the link: https://corporate.target.com/about/payment-card-issue.aspx
By Amy Falke
The Utah Division of Aging and Adult Services recently recognized Bank of American Fork for its pioneering efforts in age-friendly banking. Bank of American Fork has been a national leader in developing programs and products that make banking friendlier to seniors and those with physical or mental impairments.
Bank of American Fork trains its employees to be conscious of the needs of Utah’s growing elderly population. Bank employees receive training on how to recognize the signs of elder financial abuse and how to report it.
Staff members are also trained how to assist families in structuring their banking to create checks and balances that help protect the senior and the caregivers. This financial structure is built around a line of innovative products designed by Bank of American Fork called AccountSmart TM Tools for Seniors. These products provide customers with services like view-only access to accounts, automatic transfers and bill payments, and a limited power of attorney to assist caregivers and seniors in managing finances.*
Our call center employees have received training from Relay Utah on assistive listening technologies to help us better serve customers with speaking or hearing impairments. These employees frequently receive calls from elderly individuals who have difficulty coming into a branch to complete transactions. The call center representatives do an excellent job in educating customers on our online banking tools and other technologies that help facilitate banking from home.**
Many of the technologies available to customers can be accessed through Bank of American Fork’s iPad app. This app features a user-friendly interface and larger, high-contrast text. Tablet users can also visit mobile.bankaf.com on their mobile device.
Bank of American Fork strives to cultivate a senior-friendly culture. All customers are treated with respect, but employees are especially conscious of elders’ needs when they come into a branch, provide a comfortable environment to accommodate hearing and vision restrictions or a place to sit while an associate provides assistance with a teller transaction.
It has been said that a society can be measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members. This is a good test for businesses as well. Bank of American Fork is committed to the continued development of products, training and services to provide quality customer service to all that entrust the bank with their banking needs.
*Fees may apply
**Although mobile banking is provided by Bank of American Fork free of charge, you may be charged access rates depending on your mobile carrier. Web access is needed to use mobile banking. Check with your service provider for details on specific fees and charges.
iPad is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.
Courtesy of FDIC
Many consumers use debit, credit and prepaid cards, often interchangeably, to purchase goods and services. However, these three types of cards are quite different. Consider the following.
Each card works differently. If you use a credit card, you are borrowing money that you must pay back, in addition to interest, if you do not pay the balance in full by the due date. But, if you use a debit card, which is issued by your bank and linked to your checking or savings account, the money taken from the account is yours and you will never incur interest charges.
With prepaid cards, you are spending the money deposited onto them, and they usually aren’t linked to your checking or savings account. Prepaid products include “general-purpose reloadable” cards, which display a network brand such as American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa; gift cards for purchases at stores; and payroll cards for employer deposits of salary or government benefit payments. Be aware of the possibility of unanticipated fees and, with certain types of these cards, the potential for limited consumer protections against unauthorized transactions.
Watch for fees. You may be charged an overdraft fee if you use a debit card for a purchase but there aren’t enough funds in the account and you have given your bank written permission to charge you for allowing the transaction to go through. “You can always revoke that authorization if you don’t want to risk paying these fees, and future debit card transactions will be declined if you don’t have the funds in your account,” explained FDIC Consumer Affairs Specialist Heather St. Germain.
Similarly, a credit card issuer may decline a transaction that puts you over your credit limit unless you have explicitly agreed to pay a fee to permit over-the-limit transactions.
Prepaid cards are sometimes marketed with celebrity endorsements and promotional offers. “While some prepaid card offers seem attractive, remember that you may have to pay various fees on the card,” said Susan Boenau, Chief of the FDIC’s Consumer Affairs Section. “These costs may include monthly fees, charges for loading funds onto the card, and fees for each transaction.”
As an alternative to a traditional checking account or prepaid card, consumers who don’t plan to write checks but do want to bank electronically may want to consider opening a “checkless” transaction account that allows you to pay bills and make purchases online or with a debit card.
Your liability for an unauthorized transaction varies depending on the type of card. Federal law limits your losses to a maximum of $50 if a credit card is lost or stolen. For a debit card, your maximum liability under federal law is $50 if you notify your bank within two business days after learning of the loss or theft of your card. But, if you notify your bank after those first two days, under the law you could lose much more.
Your liability for the fraudulent use of a prepaid card currently differs depending on the type of card. Federal law treats payroll cards the same as debit cards, but currently there are no federal consumer protections limiting your losses with other general-purpose, reloadable prepaid cards and store gift cards. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering increasing the consumer protections for prepaid cards, but any action is likely to be a year or more away.
In addition, the funds you place on a prepaid card may or may not be covered by deposit insurance in the event of a bank failure, depending on how the account where the funds are held is set up and whether the bank or the card issuer’s records at the time of the bank closing identify each cardholder’s ownership interest.
For all cards, industry practices may further limit your losses, so check with your card issuer.
Also take steps to guard any cards from thieves. Never provide any numbers in response to an unsolicited phone call, e-mail, text message or other communication you didn’t originate. Immediately review your statement for unauthorized transactions.
To learn more about the three types of payment cards, visit www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/information/ncpw/index.html, which includes an FDIC “quick guide” to understanding the differences in the cards.
We’re celebrating one hundred years of serving Utah communities with free cookie Fridays. Each month one of our 13 branches will be spotlighted—for that month, the spotlighted branch will have free cookies in their lobby. You can read a little bit about the history of Bank of American Fork below, with a history of the spotlighted branch. For a deeper history and to view photos visit here and select “downloads”.
Bank of American Fork was established in 1913 as The People’s State Bank of American Fork. The first two decades after opening brought success for the bank and its reputation for being safe and sound was solidified. Challenges came in 1932, when the People’s State Bank of American Fork closed its doors to prevent a run on deposits. While a third of the nation’s banks did the same and never reopened, the People’s State Bank was open for business nine months later after tremendous sacrifice on the part of its management. The 1940s and ‘50s were better years for banking, and the People’s State Bank of American Fork thrived. In the 1960s the name was shortened to Bank of American Fork and proved itself a technological leader when it made a large investment in upgrading to advanced computerized systems. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Bank of American Fork began to receive national recognition for being safe and strong. It was during this time that the bank began strategic expansion across Utah, finding communities where Bank of American Fork fit and filled needs. Today, we are proud to be a part of 13 communities, and Utah’s community bank leader.
Saratoga Springs Branch December 29, 2008 The twelfth branch opened as Lehi expanded westward toward Saratoga Springs as the fastest growing community in Utah. As a result of the fast growth, traffic around the Lehi branch was becoming a concern. The branch location was originally ideal, but Lehi’s Main Street had become crowded with retail space and congested traffic. It was getting harder for customers to access the bank, especially during rush hours, some of the busiest time at the branch. Seeing a need for better access for customers and an opportunity as Lehi grew toward Saratoga Spring, Bank of American Fork purchased land there. The branch opened when there were enough loans and deposits to support it. A few years later, Pioneer Crossing opened to connect Saratoga Springs with the rest of Utah County, sky-rocketing the area’s population and increasing traffic at the Saratoga Springs branch.
Don’t forget to stop by the Saratoga Springs branch on Fridays this month and grab a cookie!
Project Teddy Bear in its 14th year
The little boy was so traumatized by neglect and abuse that he spoke to his therapist from inside a cardboard box for two years. Inside, he clung to his trusted teddy bear—the only one he felt comfortable with enough to have inside with him. This child—and thousands of others like him—has benefitted from your donations to Bank of American Fork’s Project Teddy Bear. Each holiday season, we collect new and clean, gently used stuffed animals to give to children at family support centers across Utah. Many of the children are victims of abuse, neglect, poverty or addiction. Some have been taken from their homes into state custody during the night; others have been moved from one foster home to another; yet others have experienced the violent loss of a loved one.
When these children, and perhaps all children, can hug and hold their own teddy bear, it brings comfort and a feeling of safety.
You can help. Project Teddy Bear is an opportunity for you to join with the communities in Davis, Salt Lake and Utah counties, and donate teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, all Bank of American Fork branches will be accepting donations of new or clean and gently used stuffed animals through December 16.
This year will be the 14th anniversary of Project Teddy Bear at Bank of American Fork. When the bank started the program in 2000, it collected 237 bears. Since then, more than 52,000 bears have been donated to Utah’s at-risk children.
To see how the American Fork branch is transformed during Project Teddy Bear, check out this Time Lapse Video from 2009 Donations. You can also find testimonials from employees of the treatment centers on Bank of American Fork’s YouTube playlist about Project Teddy Bear.
Forget about checks and IOUs; make your person-to-person payments with the click of a mouse. Just log into your Bank of American Fork online banking and select the TheWayiPay “sendmoney” option on the homepage Dashboard to get started. Customers can pay virtually anyone using only the recipient’s name and email address.
TheWayiPay online person-to-person payment service allows you to make secure payments from your Bank of American Fork consumer checking account to nearly anyone with a U.S. financial institution account using their email address as the destination. Payments processed are deducted from your account electronically and deposited directly into the recipient’s bank account in two to three business days – and no, they don’t have to be Bank of American Fork accountholders to receive payments. There is a $1 fee per payment.
Below are answers to some of the common questions we get about TheWayiPay person-to-person payments:
Q: What is TheWayiPay?
A: TheWayiPay is a secure consumer online person-to-person payment service that allows you to electronically send money to virtually anyone who’s enrolled with an email address and a U.S. financial institution account.
Q: How do I enroll for TheWayiPay?
A: Enrollment is easy. If you are an existing customer with personal online banking, you will need to add the TheWayiPay option to your online banking dashboard by selecting the “sendmoney” widget from the “configure” menu.
If you do not have personal online banking you will first need to contact our customer service team, available Monday – Friday, 7:15 A.M. – 6:15 P.M. Mountain Time, to request online access.
Q: Are there fees for TheWayiPay payments?
A: Yes. There is a $1.00 fee per payment.
Q: How does it work?
A: After enrollment, payees are added by creating a new payee and then going through a safe and secure payee enrollment process. You will be required to enter their name and email address, as well as a short confirmation code before a new payee can receive payments. New payees are required to follow a secure link from an email that will be sent to the email address provided requiring them to enter a security phrase that you will create and provide them to confirm their authority to receive payments, and then to enter their account information for the account for which they would like to receive payments.
Once the new payee is added all you will have to do is enter the payee’s name in the new payment field for future payments.
Q: How long do payment deposits take?
A: Payments should take approximately two to three business days to be completed.
For more information about TheWayiPay, visit any Bank of American Fork branch or contact us at 1-800-815-BANK.
TheWayiPay® is a registered trademark of Jack Henry & Associates, Inc.
The Kathy Lee Parker show is an internet talk show. The topic for the November 20 show is elder financial abuse prevention, and how families can talk during the holidays about how to set up checks and balances that will reduce this risk.
Tracey Larsen, vice president and special projects manager at Bank of American Fork and the financial representative for the Governor’s Commission on Aging is representing the bank on the show. The show also features Nan Mendenhall, director of Adult Protective Services from the Utah Department of Aging and Adult Services. She will tell stories and give practical examples that families can use in their discussions.
To listen to the show live on November 20 at 6:00 MST go to LAtalkRadio.com then click on the channel 1 Listen Live button in the left margin.
To listen to the show at a later time go to LAtalkRadio.com/Kathy and scroll down to the November 20 show listing.
Listeners may find these links to be helpful: