Rules And Requirements For Doing A Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) From An IRA


For nearly a decade, the rules allowing for a tax-free Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) directly from an IRA to a charity has been on-again, off-again, a part of the infamous Tax Extenders that would lapse and be reinstated every other year.

With the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, though, the QCD rules have finally been made permanent, making it easier to engage in proactive charitable giving strategies that help to minimize the tax bite of an IRA’s Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) obligations.

However, obtaining the tax benefits for doing a QCD from an IRA to a charity requires meeting very specific requirements, including a minimum age limitation, a maximum dollar amount limitation, and contributing to only certain types of eligible (public) charities (rendering private foundations, donor-advised funds, and split-interest charitable trusts all ineligible).

In addition, there is the most stringent requirement – though also the easiest to satisfy – that for an IRA distribution to qualify as a QCD, the check cannot be made payable to the IRA owner and instead must be made payable directly to the charitable entity (though the check payable to the charity can be sent to the IRA owner and forwarded on to the charity).

Fortunately, though, with QCDs made permanent under current law, at least IRA owners have the entire year to strategize and decide whether to engage in charitable giving – but remember that once an RMD has been distributed, there’s no way to undo it and turn it into a QCD later!

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