Tax-credit deadline looms for donors to Rhatigan Student Center project
The tax credit, equal to 50 percent of total donation, expires on Dec. 31
Bill Lucas graduated from Wichita State in 1961, just two years after the opening of the Rhatigan Student Center, then called the Campus Activities Center. He and his wife, Debra, donated $50,000 to the campaign to expand and renovate the RSC.
After you read about Bill Lucas, scroll down for similar donor stories
about the Rhatigan Renewal tax credit
Bill Lucas was a sophomore at Wichita State University in 1959 when the school first opened the doors of the Campus Activities Center, known today as the Rhatigan Student Center (RSC).
“It was a good place to go between classes and take a break, have a cup of coffee,” said Lucas, who graduated in 1961 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accountancy. “For that time, it was considered a very nice facility and definitely the center of campus life.”
Today, 52 years after earning his diploma, Lucas is among dozens of alumni and other WSU supporters who have donated private funds to help finance the $33 million expansion and renovation of the Rhatigan Student Center. Many of those donors were eligible to take advantage of a state tax-credit program that substantially reduced their actual cost.
That program, called the Higher Education Deferred Maintenance Tax Credit Program, is set to expire on Dec. 31, meaning that individuals and organizations that are considering making a contribution to the RSC project have just six weeks to do so in order to take advantage of the tax break.
“ If you fall into the 35 percent tax bracket and you think that investing in this is a good cause, then your
out-of-pocket cost will actually be about 25 percent of what you contribute."
- Bill Lucas, referring to the benefits of the Higher Education Deferred Maintenance Tax
“If you fall into the 35 percent tax bracket and you think that investing in this is a good cause, then your out-of-pocket cost will actually be about 25 percent of what you contribute,” said Lucas, a certified public accountant who owns Lucas & Associates. “For something that you want to support anyway, that’s not a bad deal.”
For example, a donor who contributes $100,000 to the RSC and is subject to the federal tax rate of 35 percent could actually end up paying only about $25,000. That’s because the state tax credit is equal to 50 percent of the total donation, and regular charitable deductions on both state and federal taxes typically add up to about another 25 percent. If the credit exceeds the donor’s income tax liability, the remaining credit may be carried forward for up to three additional years.
Lucas described several scenarios where donors could actually pay as little as 0 to 15 cents on the dollar. Those subject to the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax,) for instance, might fall into this category, as might people who donate certain stocks in lieu of cash. As always, Lucas said, potential donors should consult with their financial advisers to determine their specific circumstances.
Lucas and his wife, Debra, donated $50,000 to the RSC project. He said he was happy to take advantage of the tax credit, but he knew he wanted to support the RSC project for many reasons: “I knew this would be good for the university, I knew it would be good for students, and I wanted to honor two people who I think are very special to the university.” Those people are James Rhatigan, former dean of students for whom the center is named, and Shirley Beggs, wife of former WSU President Donald Beggs. Lucas dedicated a portion of his contribution to help pay for the Shirley Beggs Ballroom in the Rhatigan Student Center.
Another portion of Lucas’ gift was used to obtain naming rights for a second-floor meeting room that overlooks a courtyard and opens out to an atrium and lounge area. Other naming rights are still available for those contributing to the RSC project, said Rhatigan, consultant to the WSU Foundation and the WSU Alumni Association.
Those who obtain naming rights, he said, will be showcased in one of the most heavily used buildings on campus.
“Adding over 60,000 square feet in new space and remodeling the remainder will increase the annual usage of the building substantially,” said Rhatigan, who is leading the fundraising campaign for the project. “Currently, more than a million users walk through the doors every year. Students, faculty and staff will continue their extensive utilization and it is expected that many more community agencies and individuals will schedule meeting space.”
He noted that, although most of the cost of the renovation will be paid through student fees, private donations will shorten the term length of the bonds issued for the project and decrease the amount of time the student fee will be assessed.
Renovation of the Rhatigan Student Center is being done in phases, with most of the building still open for use. Construction is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014.
Read similar stories about the Rhatigan Renewal tax credit:
To learn more about the Higher Education Deferred Maintenance Tax Credit Program or to make a contribution to the Rhatigan Student Center project, contact James Rhatigan, consultant to the WSU Foundation and the WSU Alumni Association, at (316) 978-3846 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.