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 | By Dan Wierzbowski | Guest Columnist

Let’s consider the blessings God has given us

As we find ourselves at the end of 2023, I am reminded that the season of Advent is a time of preparation and reflection. It’s easy to get “caught up in the busyness of the season.”

This Advent, let us make time to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ birth and to consider the blessings God has given us. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to be Christian stewards, and as Christian stewards we believe that everything we have is a gift from God. If we are honest with ourselves, no matter how hard we try to hold onto our stuff, everything goes back to God in the end anyway! We are merely stewarding the gifts we have received from God while we have use of them. 

The Diocese of Austin — with its parishes, schools, agencies and outreach ministries — offers us many opportunities to give back to God in gratitude. As you consider your end of year giving, here are some tax smart ways for you to consider giving back in Christian stewardship:

Qualified Charitable IRA Distribution (QCD)

Individuals age 70½ or older can give up to $100,000 per year from their traditional IRA directly to a charitable organization like the Diocese of Austin without paying income taxes on the transfer. You can use this transfer to satisfy your required minimum distributions (RMD) if you are required to make RMDs. The Diocese of Austin must receive your gift by Dec. 31 for the donation to qualify for this year. If you have check-writing privileges on your IRA, the check must clear your account by Dec 31. to count toward this calendar year.

Donate Appreciated Stock

Two tax benefits are available with a gift of appreciated stock! If you have owned stock for more than a year and it has increased in value, you may be eligible to avoid paying capital gains tax on the appreciated value and qualify for a charitable income tax deduction based on the fair market value of the asset when you itemize. All transfers must be completed by Dec. 31. 

Donor Advised Funds

Contribute to a donor advised fund may mean an immediate tax deduction on that amount when you itemize. Your contribution must be completed by Dec. 31. You do not have to designate the funds to a charity this calendar year to receive the tax benefit.

As we approach the end of the year, the diocesan Stewardship and Development team is happy to visit you with how you can make a positive impact on the Diocese of Austin and the programs and ministries that are most important to you, and possibly receive a tax benefit at the same time! 

Contact Information

Dan Wierzbowski at (512) 949-2496 or

The information in this article is not intended to provide legal or tax advice. As always, please contact your attorney or tax advisor for such advice.

Dan Wierzbowski is the associate director of planned giving for the Diocese of Austin. He is a parishioner of St. Albert the Great Parish in Austin.