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NIMCRUT: What Is It and How Does It Work?

❗ Key Takeaways:

  • NIMCRUTs are almost identical to Standard CRUTs with one important difference, the annual distributions can be deferred to future years
  • Deferring payouts with a NIMCRUT allows you to put off taxes for longer and can lead to greater returns, by allowing you to invest your assets and grow them tax free for a longer period of time

What Is A NIMCRUT?

You may be wondering what is a NIMCRUT or Net Income with Make-Up Charitable Remainder Unitrust? How can you work with them effectively?

A NIMCRUT is very similar to a standard Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT), with one notable exception. With a standard CRUT, you receive a fixed percentage of the trust’s value as a payout every year, regardless of whether the trust’s assets grow or shrink in value or have any income. With a NIMCRUT, although you are still entitled to that amount every year, you will only receive the trust’s income from the year up to that distribution limit.

In other words, a NIMCRUT pays you the lower of the trust’s net income or the standard payout.

Practically, this means that if the trust doesn’t have enough income to pay out the fixed percentage of the trust’s assets that it owes you, you’ll only receive whatever income the Charitable Remainder Trust has. And if there’s a shortfall — i.e. if the trust doesn’t have enough net income to pay the whole amount it owes you, the difference carries over to future years.

That’s where the “make-up” in Net Income with Makeup Charitable Remainder Unitrust comes from. It’s similar an account receivable that accrues the value of when the NIMCRUT pays you less than what it owes you. Importantly when the trust has income it will start to pay out the amount the trust owes you, or the value of the make-up provision. Why is this distinction important for understanding the NIMCRUT term? Because you can use the make-up account to defer your distributions and allow your money to grow tax-free for longer in the make-up Charitable Remainder Unitrust and create more wealth for yourself as the longer your assets grow tax free, the faster they will grow.

Let us explain how NIMCRUTs work.

How do NIMCRUT distributions work?

These steps may look familiar. That’s because NIMCRUT’s distributions are almost exactly the same as the standard Charitable Remainder Unitrust, except for the additional flexibility on the annual withdrawal.

Let’s walk through how NIMCRUTs work as well as their key differences with Standard CRUTs.

1. Starts like a Standard Charitable Remainder Unitrust

Like with any CRUT, you will likely choose an asset that is highly appreciated or is likely to appreciate significantly. Next, you’ll designate an income beneficiary — the person who will receive the annual distributions from the NIMCRUT trust; this is usually you or a family member. After that, you’ll transfer your assets into the trust and claim your charitable tax deduction, which is typically equal to about 10% of the starting value of the assets. And then — voila — you get to sell your asset and, pay no taxes on that sale, allowing you to grow more money faster due to the magic of compounding and pre-tax investing.

2. Determine how much you want to withdraw

This is where the NIMCRUT and CRUT start to differ from the income beneficiary, and the benefits start to come in. With a NIMCRUT distribution, the trust only distributes the lower of the trust income and what it owes you. As a result, you have some power to control your distribution amount (to the extent you can control realizing gains inside the trust).

3. Take your annual withdrawal

So you’ve decided you’d like a distribution. What now? With a NIMCRUT, the trust has to realize income by selling assets; otherwise it may not have the income to meet your withdrawal needs. We would work with you to sell off enough assets to get the distribution you want while minimizing the taxes you pay.

This will happen annually for as long as the trust runs allowing you to have some control over when you get distributions while maximizing the tax exempt benefits of Charitable Remainder Trusts to create wealth for yourself.

4. Leave the remainder to charity

 The remainder —whatever is left in the trust at the end of the Charitable Remainder Trust term (this may be at the end of your life or a specified number of years) — is donated to a charitable organization. Recall that this is the reason your money gets to grow tax-free in the first place: You get to sell and grow assets in a tax-exempt structure and in exchange, you promise to leave the remainder to another tax-exempt entity — a charity.

What are the Benefits of a NIMCRUTs Distribution Strategy?

The key benefit of the NIMCRUT — and the reason most of our customers choose to use this structure over other Charitable Remainder Trust options— is the chance to control your annual distributions, grow your money tax-free for longer, and, as a result, create greater gains over the long term compared to a Standard CRUT.

But how do you gain control over a NIMCRUT and how do you put it into practice?

Because a NIMCRUT can only make distributions when you realize income, the simplest way to control your distributions is to minimize the trust’s income in years when you don’t want a payout. You can do this in several ways, but the most common are:

  1. Invest in a diverse set of assets that don’t typically pay out dividends
  2. Choose to sell those assets, and realize income, only once you’re ready to cash money out of the trust.

And why would you opt to receive less money from your trust in a given year? Is that money gone forever? Nope! This is where the NIMCRUT’s “make-up provision” comes into play. No matter what kind of CRUT you choose, you’ll be owed a distribution each year. With a NIMCRUT, if you do not receive a given amount of distributions in a year, you can make up those distributions in future years, when the trust has enough income to cover the payouts (because you chose to realize the trust income when you are ready to take it.)

So you can defer your payouts in a NIMCRUT. 

NIMCRUT Example

Let’s analyze a NIMCRUT example in detail. Annie lives in the Bay Area and joined Coinbase around the time of the company’s Series C round. Her shares—all exercised for a total cost of around $50,000—are valued at around $2,500,000.

If she just sells her shares, Annie will owe the federal government about $550,000 in taxes on her capital gains, and she’ll owe California another $285,000, for a total tax bill of $835,000. That number is too big to stomach, so Annie chooses to use a NIMCRUT to minimize her taxes. Let’s jump into how her numbers work out.

Available NIMCRUT Withdrawals

  • Cost basis: $50,000
  • Exit value: $2,500,000
  • Charitable deduction: $250,000 or expected $120,000 tax savings (based on her 48% ordinary tax rate)
  • Immediate tax savings on sale: $835,000.

There are many ways to get liquidity out of a CRT, and we discuss them in some depth. But the simplest answer for this NIMCRUT example – due to its structure- Annie (and you) will have access to a growing share of money every year, starting as soon as she reaches her liquidity event. (For a term trust, it’ll be around 11%; for a lifetime trust, it depends on her age, but it’ll be right around 6%).

In her first five years Annie should be able to withdraw about $1 million dollars assuming an 8% annual growth rate, or about $2.3 million in 10 years!

Total NIMCRUT Tax Returns

What would all of these tax savings, investment gains, and withdrawals mean for Annie’s bottom line on this example? After, say, 40 years, and pulling out 20% of her assets every 5 years, Annie will end up with about $12.5 million in after tax total payouts or $8m more than if she hadn’t used a NIMCRUT (all while giving an additional $5.7 million to charity).

In other words, even after making what can only be described as a very generous donation to charity, Annie still pockets an extra $8 million, all because she put her Coinbase shares into a NIMCRUT before she sold them. To see your own potential returns you can use our customizable calculator here.

NIMCRUT Example
NIMCRUT Example

Controlled withdrawals, greater returns. Charitable Remainder Trusts enable you to defer taxes and, ultimately, to leave you with more money to invest for long-term growth. That’s why Charles Schwab’s Charitable Strategies Group calls CRUTs “particularly suited for highly appreciated assets.” And things get even better with NIMCRUTs.

With a NIMCRUT, you have greater flexibility to decide when you realize income as an income beneficiary. By delaying your distributions, NIMCRUT’s assets can compound for longer tax-free. As a result, you might see 80% higher returns than you would with a standard CRUT.

Next Steps

In short, although everyone’s preferences and circumstances are different, this structure can be a good fit for customers who are willing to give up predictable, consistent payouts in search of greater returns. If you have any questions you can set up a call with our trust experts, better understand the value of NIMCRUTs you can use our ROI calculator or read through our Charitable Remainder Trust guide to understand NIMCRUTs and CRUTs in more depth.

About Valur

We have built a platform to give everyone access to the tax planning tools of the ultra-rich like Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook founder), Phil Knight (Nike founder), and others. Valur makes it simple and seamless for our customers to utilize the tax-advantaged structures that are otherwise expensive and inaccessible to build their wealth more efficiently. From picking the best strategy to taking care of all the setup and ongoing overhead, we make take care of it and make it easy.