Can I Make Charitable Contributions From My IRA This Year?

Yes, if you qualify. The law authorizing qualified charitable distributions, or QCDs, has recently been made permanent by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.

You simply instruct your IRA trustee to make a distribution directly from your IRA (other than a SEP or SIMPLE) to a qualified charity. You must be 70½ or older, and the distribution must be one that would otherwise be taxable to you.  You can exclude up to $100,000 of QCDs from your gross income in 2016. And if you file a joint return, your spouse (if 70½ or older) can exclude an additional $100,000 of QCDs. But you can’t also deduct these QCDs as a charitable contribution on your federal income tax return–that would be double dipping.

QCDs count toward satisfying any required minimum distributions (RMDs) that you would otherwise have to take from your IRA in 2016, just as if you had received an actual distribution from the plan. However, distributions (including RMDs) that you actually receive from your IRA and subsequently transfer to a charity cannot qualify as QCDs.

For example, assume that your RMD for 2016 is $25,000. In June 2016, you make a $15,000 QCD to Qualified Charity A. You exclude the $15,000 QCD from your 2016 gross income.  Your $15,000 QCD satisfies $15,000 of your $25,000 RMD.  You’ll need to withdraw another $10,000 (or make an additional QCD) by December 31, 2016, to avoid a penalty.

You could instead take a distribution from your IRA and then donate the proceeds to a charity yourself, but this would be a bit more cumbersome and possibly more expensive.  You would include the distribution in  gross income and then take a corresponding income tax deduction for the charitable contribution.  But the additional tax from the distribution may be more than the charitable deduction due to IRS limits.  QCDs avoid all this by providing an exclusion from income for the amount paid directly from your IRA to the charity–you don’t report the IRA distribution in your gross income, and you don’t take a deduction for the QCD.  The exclusion from gross income for QCDs also provides a tax-effective way for taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions to make charitable contributions.

This topic covers 2 main areas of wealth management:  Tax Planning and Charitable giving.  As with most complex financial decisions, work with a wealth manager with expertise in all of the areas of wealth management who will bring clarity to your decision making and help you make the best decisions for you.

Key Takeaways:

  • Yes, if you qualify, as enacted by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015.
  • Instruct your IRA trustee to make a distribution directly from your IRA to a qualified charity.
  • A tax-effective way for taxpayers who don’t itemize deductions to make charitable contributions.

 

 

Adviser is not licensed to provide and does not provide legal or accounting advice to clients. Advice of qualified counsel or accountant should be sought to address any specific situation requiring assistance from such licensed individuals.

About Mark Rioboli

Mark A. Rioboli, CFP®, CFS is Director of Wealth Management for Independence Advisors, bringing over 25 years of experience in the wealth management industry. Have a question for Mark? CLICK HERE TO ASK MARK

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