In December 2015, Congress permanently extended an excellent charitable planning opportunity. Under the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act” of 2015, charitably minded individuals can make gifts directly from their IRAs and exclude the amount of their gifts from gross income. To qualify, the following requirements must be met:
The donor must be 70 1/2 years of age or older;
The transfer must be made directly from the IRA to a qualified charity;
Gifts cannot exceed $100,000 per taxpayer per year;
Gifts must be outright, not to donor advised funds, charitable remainder trusts, or charitable gift annuities.
A gift from your IRA counts toward your required minimum distribution.
Who benefits from this provision?
The law presents a wonderful opportunity for individuals to utilize their IRAs creatively to accomplish their philanthropic objectives.
Individuals who usually give up to 50% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) - the ceiling on the allowable charitable deduction for any year - can now give up to $100,000 more from their IRA accounts, which is not subject to this limitation or taxed as a distribution.
Individuals who do not itemize their deductions and who make a charitable gift in an amount less than the standard deduction will benefit from making a transfer directly from their IRA to charity.
Individuals who are required to take minimum withdrawals but do not need additional income can satisfy up to $100,000 of the distribution requirement with a transfer to charity.
Sample letters to send to your IRA administrator and check list may be found here: