Foundation News

The Montana Endowment Tax Credit

March 09, 2022

A Way to Make the Most of Your Money for You and Montana

Imagine what $8.2 million could do in Lewis and Clark County.

That is the amount that transferred from one generation to the next in Lewis and Clark County over the last ten years. Much of this wealth left Lewis and Clark County and Montana. If 5% of those funds were endowed, organizations in Lewis and Clark County would receive more than $2 million annually forever.

The Montana Endowment Tax Credit (METC) is one way we can ensure local communities benefit from generosity forever.

Plus, it can save you money on your Montana income tax.

Many Montana taxpayers, both individuals and businesses, are still unaware of the METC. Since 1997, the METC has encouraged individuals, businesses, and organizations to make lasting investments in their communities through endowed philanthropy. The METC offers donors, both individuals and businesses, an above-the-line credit on their Montana tax liability when making this type of gift.

Every dollar of METC you qualify for is $1 less you will owe the state of Montana in income tax. As an individual, you can claim up to $10,000 in METC annually or $20,000 as a couple filing jointly. Businesses can take credit of 20 percent of a gift’s federal charitable deduction, up to a maximum of $10,000 per year.

You can take advantage of the METC by making a planned gift of $2,500 or more to an existing qualified charitable endowment or we can help you create a new endowment. As the endowed fund grows, returns are used to support the organizations and causes you care about forever.

Planned gifts are typically made in the form of charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, and some estate gifts. They can be made using gifts of cash, publicly traded stock, real estate, or other property. Planned gifts can be a way to receive income during your lifetime. Planned gifts are also helpful estate and tax planning tools.

Another popular type of charitable fund is a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF is a flexible charitable tool created by an individual, family, group, business, or private foundation to help them reach their giving goals. They can be created with direct contributions or through planned gifts, both of which would provide you with tax benefits. Since endowed DAFs are qualified charitable endowments, you can make a planned gift to benefit a DAF which then be used for regular grantmaking to support your favorite organizations.

Through the METC and endowed philanthropy, you can leave a legacy in the place you love for the causes you care about.

We are here to help you meet your dreams for Montana. Our team is committed to working with you to meet your philanthropic and financial goals for your charitable giving.

As Montana’s statewide community foundation, we are committed to cultivating a culture of giving so Montana communities can flourish. We want to inspire giving for the good of Montana forever.

Our work with donors and charitable organizations is a demonstration of our commitment to Montana and ensuring its future. Since 1988, MCF has worked tirelessly to create permanent philanthropy and build stronger communities. We have also reinvested more than $100 million in charitable grants across Montana.

MCF currently holds over 1,400 philanthropic funds and planned gifts and more than 750 qualified endowments. We are working with donors and charitable organizations across the state to grow these endowments and create new endowments for the benefit of Montana.

Our Philanthropy Team is ready to talk with you about your charitable giving options. We can provide gift illustrations to show you how you might incorporate the METC into your charitable giving and make a lasting impact in Montana.

Learn more at or contact us at (406) 443-8313 or to get started.

This article was written in 2022. During the 2023 Montana Legislative Session, changes were made to the Montana Endowment Tax Credit that went into effect on January 1, 2024. Find information about the changes here.