IRA Charitable Donations Are an Alternative to Taxable Required Distributions

Dec 23, 2019 | Tax & Accounting

IRA distribution basics

A popular way to transfer IRA assets to charity is through a tax provision that allows IRA owners who are 70½ or older to give up to $100,000 per year of their IRA distributions to charity. These distributions are called qualified charitable distributions, or QCDs. The money given to charity counts toward the donor’s required minimum distributions (RMDs), but doesn’t increase the donor’s adjusted gross income or generate a tax bill.

So while QCDs are exempt from federal income taxes, other traditional IRA distributions are taxable (either wholly or partially depending on whether you’ve made any nondeductible contributions over the years).

Unlike regular charitable donations, QCDs can’t be claimed as itemized deductions.

Keeping the donation out of your AGI may be important because doing so can:

  1. Help the donor qualify for other tax breaks (for example, a lower AGI can reduce the threshold for deducting medical expenses, which are only deductible to the extent they exceed 10% of AGI);
  2. Reduce taxes on your Social Security benefits; and
  3. Help you avoid a high-income surcharge for Medicare Part B and Part D premiums, (which kicks in if AGI hits certain levels).

 

In addition, keep in mind that charitable contributions don’t yield a tax benefit for those individuals who no longer itemize their deductions (because of the larger standard deduction under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). So those who are age 70½ or older and are receiving RMDs from IRAs may gain a tax advantage by making annual charitable contributions via a QCD from an IRA. This charitable contribution will reduce RMDs by a commensurate amount, and the amount of the reduction will be tax-free.

Annual limit

There’s a $100,000 limit on total QCDs for any one year. But if you and your spouse both have IRAs set up in your respective names, each of you is entitled to a separate $100,000 annual QCD limit, for a combined total of $200,000.

Plan ahead

The QCD strategy can be a smart tax move for high-net-worth individuals over 70½ years old. If you’re interested in this opportunity, don’t wait until year end to act. Contact us for more information.

Recent Posts

Estimated Tax Payments: The Facts

Estimated Tax Payments: The Facts

Estimated Tax Payments: The Facts Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding, including income from self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, rent, and gains from the sale of...

Is Your College Student’s Scholarship Taxable?

Is Your College Student’s Scholarship Taxable?

Is Your College Student’s Scholarship Taxable? May 1st is the traditional deadline for undergraduate students to commit to their college of choice, which means tuition payments are not far behind. If you’re wondering if your child’s scholarships are taxable, here’s...

What To Know About Tax-related Identity Theft

What To Know About Tax-related Identity Theft

What To Know About Tax-related Identity Theft Tax-related identity theft occurs when someone uses a taxpayer’s stolen SSN to file a tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. In the vast majority of tax-related identity theft cases, the IRS identifies a suspicious tax...

Call Now ButtonCall Now