Talking QCDs in the Giving Season


Many Americans choose to make charitable donations with their retirement funds. For some it’s a way to give back to the community, while others use it as a way to support causes that are important to them. Whatever the reason for donating–if you choose to do so–you should understand the ramifications of that decision as well as the most efficient way to make a donation. It’s been a while since I’ve written about it, but qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) are probably the most efficient and effective way to make a charitable donation from your retirement funds. In case you forgot what a QCD is, it’s a charitable donation of up to $100,000 to a qualified 501(c)(3) charity made from an IRA. A QCD can offset any RMDs that need to be made for that year, but can only be made if you are 70 1/2 years old. QCDs offer a similar tax outcome to itemizing your charitable giving, if that matters to you. And yes, QCDs are allowed this year even though RMDs are suspended. Which leads me to my next part of charitable giving–the tax implications. While I cannot offer tax advice, I can advise you to speak with a tax professional if you are making substantial charitable donations in the hopes of taking advantage of tax incentives for doing so. That goes for whether you are over 70 1/2 and are making a QCD or are not yet retired, but want to make a substantial donation to your favorite charity. A tax professional should be able to give you a good idea as to how a donation may impact your taxes and whether it’s overall a good idea. However, if you want to know how a QCD or other charitable giving might affect your nest egg or financial plans, you will want to also speak with a certified financial planner or wealth manager.

Time is Running Out For 2018 QCDs

If you are considering making a qualified charitable donation (QCD) this year, you have just a over a month to do so as the deadline in December 31, 2018. A QCD presents a valuable tax break opportunity that can be too good to pass up, especially if you find that you will now be taking the standard deduction as a result of last year’s tax reforms. A QCD will allow you a tax break for your 2018 charitable contributions that you may not have had a chance at because you are unable to itemize anymore. a QCD can also be a great way to make a donation to your favorite charity and feel good about where you are putting your money. While QCDs are great, you do need to be aware of any limitations they may have. Remember, such distributions should be done as a direct transfer from your IRA or you can have the IRA custodian send you a check made out to your charity of choice that you then send to the charity. Also, you cannot receive anything in return for your donation from the charity. Finally, and this is important if you have a Roth IRA, QCDs only apply to taxable money in your IRA. Since Roth IRA money is taxed when it goes into the account, so it is post-tax. This means that little of the money in there is taxable, which is why QCDs from Roth IRAs is rare and why people usually do them from traditional IRAs. There are other details and limitations to QCDs that can make them a bit tricky, so your best bet is to talk with a certified financial planner prior to taking one so that you don’t run afoul of any issues.

QCDs Are Good, But Do You Know the Limits?

Donating to a charity can be a satisfying experience. As such, it’s not uncommon for people to make substantial donations to charities and organizations in their later years or as part of their will. If you are interested in such a move or are interested in ways to potentially spend excess retirement savings, then you’ve probably heard of a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). In case you are unaware, a QCD is a direct transfer of funds from your IRA to a qualified charity, a transaction conducted by your IRA custodian. It is used by many retirees as a way to donate and help charities that serve causes and interests that they are passionate about. If you are interested in a QCD, you may will need to know that you cannot conduct one until you are 70 ½ or older and that the annual limit to a QCD is $100,000 per person per year. A QCD can be for any amount below that $100,000 threshold. Furthermore, QCDs can be counted towards your required minimum distribution (RMD), so long as they come out of your IRA by your RMD deadline and meet the aforementioned age and monetary value limitations. Donating to a charity can be a fulfilling experience and a QCD is an easy way to do so, however, the limits can be tricky to understand. If you are considering doing a QCD, you should speak with a certified financial planner to ensure that you do so properly and also that is doesn’t affect your retirement goals and plans.

401(k) RMD? It’s the First Yearly Distribution That Counts

When you have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from a 401(k), don’t forget that the rules state that the first money paid out of the account for that year is considered an RMD. This is big, especially if you are interested in doing a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) or planning on taking other distributions from your 401(k). Thus, if you are over age 70 ½ and are taking your first distribution from your 401(k) account for the year, you need to be wise and really think about what you want to do with the money and how much you plan to take out. Furthermore, an RMD from a 401(k) cannot be rolled over into an IRA, so if you are thinking about getting cute with your RMD, don’t bother. If you are considering rolling a 401(k) over to an IRA, once you do so you can then use QCDs to satisfy the RMDs from the IRA. If you are really interested in distributing some of your retirement money to charities, you may really want to consider rolling your funds into an IRA, which will allow you to take care of two things at once–making the QCD and also taking care of your RMD for the year.

Make Sure You Properly Report QCDs on Your Taxes

Making a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) can be a fulfilling experience. Many retirees use QCD as a way to give back to the community or to causes they are passionate about. While QCDs are non-taxable and can satisfy your required minimum distribution (RMD) for the year, they do need to be reported on your taxes. When reporting QCDs on your taxes, don’t forget that the IRA custodian does not do any special reporting other than to report the total amount of your distributions for the year. Also, if you have a professional prepare your taxes, be sure to inform them that you make a QCD for the tax year as it is your responsibility (and not your IRA custodians) to inform the IRS of the QCD transaction. If you are filing your taxes on your own, the instruction for reporting a QCD can be found on Form 1040. If you have questions about reporting a QCD, you should talk with a tax preparation professional or accountant.

Feeling Charitable? Make Your Gift Soon!

If you are considering making charitable contributions with some of your retirement money in the near future, you may want to make those contributions before the end of 2017. With the Republican tax reform bill set to become reality, the tax benefits of making such charitable contributions will see a major change in 2018. The bill nearly doubles the standard deduction for both single and married couples, thus limiting the number of people who can itemize starting next year as only people whose total itemized deductions exceed the standard deduction can itemize. The ability to itemize is important because you must do so in order to deduct a charitable gift. If you are unable to exceed the standard deduction, you will lose the ability to deduct charitable gifts when it comes to your taxes. This change could have a huge impact on people who may have been planning to make charitable gifts during retirement and have plans to deduct those gifts from their taxes. If you have questions regarding your charitable gifts and any corresponding tax questions, you will want to speak with a tax professional who will help you understand what the changes mean and how you can best move forward with your plans.

The Giving Season

The holiday season is often a generous time of year with people donating time and money to various causes and interests. If you are one of those people who are interested in giving back during the holidays, there are numerous ways you can do so. One way to give back is monetarily with a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). There are certain parameters which must be met to make a QCD and they can be a bit confusing, but there are tax benefits to making a QCD. If you have enough saved for retirement and are considering a QCD, you will want to talk with a certified financial planner to make sure you do so correctly. Another way to give back is with your time. Volunteering is a great way to help out in the community. Furthermore, if you are retired, volunteering can be a great way to stay active and share your professional knowledge in a way that helps others.

A QCD for Hurricane Relief?

Are you looking to make a donation to help those in need following Hurricane Harvey or the incoming Hurricane Irma? There are a number of relief funds out there that are willing to take donations. Another option is to make a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD). If you have an IRA and are over the age of 70 ½ at the time of the donation, you can use a QCD to help those in need. You can make a QCD from either a traditional or Roth IRA and can only do so from pre-tax amounts. Furthermore, the amount transferred to charity is not included in your annual adjusted gross income (AGI), which prevents the loss the exemptions, deductions, credits and phase outs on the your taxes. If you have further questions regarding QCDs, you should talk with a certified financial planner before making one and always make sure your donations won’t have a negative impact on your retirement plans and savings.