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Charitable Contributions From Your IRA

December 09, 2021

While some people donate to charities because they believe in the cause, others are looking for a tax deduction.

When the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed, it increased the standard deduction for taxpayers. The result is fewer taxpayers itemize their deductions. If they don’t itemize, they can’t receive a deduction for charitable contributions on their tax return.

An alternative to writing a check from your bank account to a charity is to use a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your IRA.


Prior to the 2017 legislation, the required minimum distribution (RMD) age from a retirement plan was 70½. You pay income tax on the RMD. At this age, you could also use your IRA to contribute to qualified public charities. The amount (up to $100,000) was an offset to your RMD income so you only paid taxes on the non-contributed amount.


  • Jill’s IRA RMD is $50,000.
  • She writes checks for $10,000.
  • Her remaining withdrawal is $40,000.
  • The two amounts equal her RMD but she only pays taxes on the $40,000.

This option became somewhat convoluted when the legislation changed the required distribution age to 72. Now, you could wait until age 72 to begin RMDs. However, you could still write checks to charities at age 70½.

Why might you want to do this? By reducing your retirement plan by the amount of your qualified charitable contributions, you also reduce the amount of your future RMDs. After all, you are withdrawing money from your IRA but not paying any taxes.

At the time of this writing, there is legislation being recommended that would raise the RMD age to 75. Our “guess” is there is a 50/50 chance it will occur.

If you are approaching age 70½ and would like to obtain checks for QCD contributions, please contact us.


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