For many individuals and investors, real estate represents the largest portion of their net worth. Real estate has been a popular investment tool both for income and long-term appreciation. Individuals or businesses intending to divest real estate have several options.

These include outright sale or donation, bequest, bargain sale, charitable gift annuity, charitable remainder trust and retained life interest. Some of the alternatives provide an income stream and may result in charitable tax deductions and the avoidance of capital gains tax.

WHAT IS A Charitable Remainder Unitrusts?

Charitable remainder unitrusts can be an effective tool for converting real estate into higher income producing assets. Charitable remainder unitrusts may accept real estate as an asset, and then pay the net income generated by the property to the trust beneficiaries or sell the property and then pay a fixed percentage of the value of the assets.

A charitable remainder trust is an irrevocable trust that provides for and maintains two sets of beneficiaries. First is the income beneficiary. The income beneficiary receives a set percentage of income from the trust for life or a term of up to 20 years. The second is the charitable beneficiary. This could be one or more charitable organizations that receive the principal of the trust after the income beneficiaries pass away.

A CRUT can sell a property, reinvest the proceeds into a diversified portfolio of securities, and pay a percent of the trust value, all without any capital gains tax liability for the donor. This is a very useful tool to strategically minimize real estate taxes.


Since the first beneficiary is the income beneficiary, the amount of income generated is of importance to the donor. The amount of income depends upon the payout percentage chosen and the amount of income generated within the trust. The remainder of the trust must be at least 10 percent of the fair market value of the assets transferred to the trust. That market value is determined at the time of transfer and based on the original amount of the appraised value.

The amount paid out to the income beneficiary can be 5 percent to 50 percent of the trust funds each year as long as the appropriate amount remains in the trust for the charitable beneficiary. A higher payout percentage will lower the charitable income tax deduction.

A charitable remainder trust is outside of the estate and additional assets can be added after it is established. The charitable deduction available depends on the type of property contributed and the type of charity named as the charitable beneficiary. Any deductions not used in the year of contribution can be carried forward five years.

Charitable Remainder Trusts aren’t something a investor can do internally, but rather require a CPA.

Here at Camuso CPA PLLC, we do have the ability to offer charitable remainder unitary trusts strategies along with other powerful tax planning tools to our clients. If you are interested into how this service might benefit your business, please don’t hesitate to give us a call today. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to answers any questions you have.

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