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Appreciated Stocks and Securities Gifts


Make a gift of appreciated stocks or securities

The IRS allows its most significant tax breaks for gifts of appreciated securities.  Giving appreciated stock could be more beneficial than giving cash.

A $5,000 cash gift and a gift of $5,000 in appreciated securities both generate the same charitable deduction.

But if you use publicly-traded stocks, bonds or mutual fund shares that you have held for a year or longer to make your gift, you will receive an additional tax benefit:  the IRS allows you to make your transfer to the Zoo without recognizing capital gains on the appreciation.  So you can make a larger donation than you could make with cash — and receive a larger tax benefit — by “buying low and giving high.”

Your gift of stock is valued, for tax purposes, at the mean of the high and low on the date of transfer.  Mutual funds are valued at the “net asset value.”

A gift of appreciated securities is for you if:

  • You’re holding stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares that have increased in value.
  • You want to make a gift that doesn’t affect your liquidity or cash flow.
  • You want to make an outright gift or fund a gift that will first return lifetime payments to you and/or another beneficiary.
  • You want to diversify your assets to increase your income without having to pay the capital gains taxes that would result from a sale.

How it works

  • You transfer appreciated stocks, bonds, or mutual fund shares you have owned for one year or more to The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.
  • You contact us so we can help you set up an electronic transfer of your shares to the Zoo’s brokerage account or tell you how to sign the stock certificates over to the Zoo and fill out a stock power form.
  • The Zoo will sell your securities and use the proceeds for the purpose you specify at the time of the gift.


  • You receive an immediate income-tax deduction for the fair market value of the securities on the date of transfer, no matter what you originally paid for them.
  • You pay no capital gains tax on the transfer.
  • Gifts of stock are deductible up to 30% of your adjusted gross income the year you make your gift.  Any excess amount can be rolled over into the next tax year, for up to 5 additional tax years if you need to.
  • Giving appreciated stock could be more beneficial than giving cash.

Important Tip: Don’t sell the stock first.  Even though you can still give the Zoo the proceeds as a gift, if you sell the stock first instead of giving the stock to the Zoo, the IRS will impose capital gains tax on your sale, wiping out the benefits of this arrangement.


Contact us privately at or call 443.552.5290 to learn more.  We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Please recognize that The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is not in the business of giving tax advice.  Please consult your legal counsel when considering these types of gifts, and please see our full disclaimer by clicking here.