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Office of Trusts, Estates, and Gift Planning
Cornell University
130 E Seneca Street, Suite 400
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 1-800-481-1865
Fax: 607-254-1204


Gift Annuity Rates Increased July 1

The suggested maximum rates for gift annuities have been increased by the American Council on Gift Annuities. The new rates took effect July 1. Below is a comparison of the new and old rates for selected ages.

For gift annuities that make payments for the lifetime of one individual

Age Old Rate New Rate
65 4.7% 5.1%
70 5.1% 5.6%
75 5.8% 6.2%
80 6.8% 7.3%
85 7.8% 8.3%

For gift annuities that make payments to two individuals jointly and then to the survivor for life

Age Old Rate New Rate
65/65 4.2% 4.5%
70/70 4.6% 5.0%
75/75 5.0% 5.5%
80/80 5.7% 6.2%
85/85 6.7% 7.3%


A person aged 75 who contributed $50,000 for a gift annuity with us before July 1 is receiving $2,900 per year for life. But for contributions made after June 30, the payments are $3,100 per year for life.

A couple, both 75, who contributed $50,000 for a gift annuity with us before July 1 with payments to them jointly and then to the survivor is receiving $2,500 per year for life. But for contributions made after June 30, the payments are $2,750 per year for life.

How Are Gift Annuity Rates Determined?

The American Council on Gift Annuities, a nonprofit organization, reviews and suggests gift annuity rates—and most charitable organizations, including ours, follow these rates. Thus, in most instances, charities pay the same gift annuity rates.

The rates are designed with two objectives: to provide attractive payments to individuals who want to make a gift but need to receive income from their contribution; and to leave a significant amount of the contribution for charitable purposes after fulfilling the payment obligation.

Why Did Rates Increase?

The gift annuity rates offered through June 30, 2018, were in effect since 2012. They were increased largely in response to rising interest rates, though the gift annuity rates also take into consideration returns on other investments and on mortality data.

How Will the New Rates Affect Previously Existing Annuities?

There is no effect on previously existing annuities. The gift annuity rate in effect when an annuity is established remains unchanged for the duration of the annuity. For example, if you have been receiving $2,000 per year from a gift annuity, that amount will not change. The new rates affect only annuities established after June 30, 2018.

Other Benefits of a Gift Annuity

Besides larger fixed payments for life, gift annuities will continue to provide tax benefits—an income-tax charitable deduction and payments that are favorably taxed. If you contribute cash, a significant portion of your payments will be tax-free for the duration of your life expectancy. If you contribute appreciated property, such as securities, a portion of the capital gain will not be taxed and the gain that is taxable can be reported ratably over your life expectancy.

As with other gifts to our organization, your gift annuity can be for our general support or it might be designated for a particular purpose in which you are interested.

Act Now by Requesting a Financial Illustration

If you think you could possibly be interested in a gift annuity now that higher rates are in effect, contact us now. We will provide you with a financial illustration showing the payments you would receive.