Glossary of Terms beginning with T

Click one of the letters above to go to the page of all terms beginning with that letter.
Tangible personal property

Tangible personal property – property that can be physically held, such as: a doll collection, books, portable buildings (think mobile home), furniture, etc. (please see “related use” issues)

Tax Basis

Your cost, for TAX PURPOSES, in a capital asset, such as stock or real estate. What you paid for the asset – including commissions and fees, which get deducted from the sale price. This is needed to determine your TAXABLE profit.

Tax-Exempt Bonds

Bonds issued by a municipality, the income from which is usually exempt from paying taxes because of its charitable activities.

Taxable Income

The amount subject to federal income tax.

Temporarily Restricted

Temporarily restricted contributions are those that may only be spent after donor-imposed restrictions on the use of the gift have been met, or upon the passage of a specific time period.


Ownership of real property.

Tenancy by Entireties

The owning of lands by husband and wife, with the survivor taking all, and with interest generally non-separable during life of both.

Tenancy in Common

The owning of lands by several persons, with the share of the one dying passing under his will or under the intestacy laws to his heirs, and not to the survivors. Owners may possess equal or unequal shares and may, unless contractually prohibited, dispose of their interests individually. Tenants in common are entitled to their pro rata share of income or sale proceeds from the property and are responsible for their pro rata share of expenses.

Tender Offer

Offer to buy shares of a corporation, usually at a premium above the share’s market price, for cash, securities, or both, often with the objective of taking control of the target company.

Term Endowment

Assets donated by individuals or organizations to an institution with the understanding that all or part of the principal may be expended after a stated period of time or the occurrence of a particular event. The income earned is available for expenditure by institution.

Term Life

A life insurance policy that is purchased for a term of years. If the person dies during this term, the beneficiary receives the face amount of the policy. The policy has no cash value and expires at the end of the stated number of years.


Pertaining to or having to do with a will.

Testamentary Charitable Trust

A Testamentary Charitable Trust is a trust that is established at the death of the grantor via a will or revocable trust. An Inter Vivos Trust is a trust that is established during life.

Testamentary Gifts

Gifts made by a donor at his or her death, often by a provision in his or her will.

Testamentary Trust

A trust is an arrangement whereby property is held by a trust company or individual for the benefit of others. A testamentary trust is one created by a will for the benefit of survivors.


To leave a will at death.


The person making a will, and/or the person with a will in force at death.

Tier Structure

The ordering system that determines the tax character of the payments received by an income beneficiary of a charitable remainder annuity trust or unitrust. The four basic tiers are: (1) ordinary income, (2) capital gains, (3) tax-exempt or “other” income, and (4) return of principal.


Most charities do not accept a gift offer of a timeshare. Seldom do they make a good gift so when you hear the word it is best to say: “Thank you, but NO THANK YOU, but I will check with my gift planning office to be certain.”

Total Return

Annual return on an investment, including appreciation/depreciation and dividends or interest.

Transactional Gifts

In Philanthropy Works terminology this is a gift that may be seen as routine or obligatory and often provides little reward to the donor. An annual fund gift may be an example of such a gift. “You give and I take.” In transactional gifts, the benefactor usually has little social equity or ownership of the organization’s mission and vision.

Transfer Agent

An agent employed by a corporation or mutual fund to maintain shareholder records, including purchases, sales, and account balances.

Transfer Agreement

The legal document changing ownership of property from one individual to another individual or to a charity.

Transfer Tax

A tax on the passing of ownership to property from one person (or entity) to another.


In Philanthropy Works terminology a transfer is the actual mechanical process of transferring an asset from the donor to the charity. Conveyance of a right, title or interest.

Transformational Gifts

In Philanthropy Works terminology, and adapted from our friend James M. Hodge, a transformational gift is the one we all hope to experience at least one time in our career. It is a gift that changes the donor, the institution, and often the development officer. It isn’t as much about the size of the gift, although they are generally significant in size, as it is about the perfect match of fulfilling a passion of a donor and an otherwise unattainable objective of the charity. These gifts change or greatly enhance the mission of the organization. These gifts are attracted to big ideas and require the institution be willing, ‘to be transformed.’

Transitional Gifts

In Philanthropy Works terminology this a gift made when a donor is choosing to explore philanthropy in greater depth. It is typically a gift that is larger than their transactional gifts, and does not possess the meaning of a transformational gift. These gifts are sometimes referred to as “Step gifts” or “Test gifts”, or “engagement gifts.”

Treasury Bills

Short-term government debt that matures in ONE year or less.

Treasury Bonds

Long-term government debt, which take more than TEN years to mature or pay back principal to investors.

Treasury Notes

Medium-term government debt, with maturities ranging from TWO to TEN years.

Trust Instrument

The legal document that provides operating instructions for a trustee in carrying out the terms of a trust.

Trust Officer

The person in a trust company who is responsible for the administration of property of which the trust company is trustee.

Trust Principal

The assets of a trust.


The person or institution who is the legal owner of the property held in a trust and who is responsible for carrying out the terms of the trust.


The person creating a trust. Also called a grantor.