One thing you should never forget about your IRA – even though you make contributions with pre-tax dollars, and once inside these accounts your money grows tax-free, the government is counting on getting their share of tax revenue from you at some point. Which is why only those over age 70-1/2 are eligible to make tax-free transfers (of no more than $100,000) from IRA funds directly to charity. By limiting eligibility and capping the transfer amount, the government limits their exposure to lost revenue.
So, why might you want to utilize this IRA-to-Charity strategy? A Charitable IRA Rollover lets you give to your favorite charity while avoiding taxes on IRA distributions. Consequently, this is a very popular win-win strategy for taxpayers who have accumulated a lot of money in their IRAs, but don’t need the money to live one – and would rather be “voluntary philanthropists” as opposed to “involuntary philanthropists.”
A recent Kiplinger article titled “Who Can Transfer IRA Funds to Charity?” explains the ins and outs of Charitable IRA Rollovers. If you think this strategy would be appropriate for you, beware. There are strict rules governing the proper execution of these transfers, as well as their ultimate tax-treatment.
While Congress generally approves the use of this strategy on a year-by-year basis, the good news is that they already approved it for this year. This means you should have plenty of time to plan if you’d like to make a charitable transfer this year.