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The Big Take

Wealthy Use Loophole to Reap Tax Breaks — And Delay Giving Away Money

Foundations shift billions to donor-advised funds, skirting US laws requiring transfers to the needy, a Bloomberg analysis finds.

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Illustration: Najeebah Al-Ghadban for Bloomberg Markets

For years, New York hedge fund tycoon Robert Mercer ­itemized in public tax filings the millions of dollars his family foundation gave to conservative causes. Then, in 2018, the foundation made by far its largest gift to an account called a donor-advised fund that effectively keeps his philanthropy secret.

At the Allender Family Foundation Inc., based in a house near Las Vegas on Marie Antoinette Street, a millionaire family has used the same sort of fund for another purpose increasingly popular among the wealthy: keeping the tax benefits of philanthropy while delaying for years actually giving to those in need.