How to Turn Your Retirement Income into Charitable Donations

How to Turn Your Retirement Income into Charitable Donations

September 20, 2022
Share |

You know that the world extends beyond just you and your family, and it’s important to you that you make a difference when and how you can. 

When charitable giving is high on your priority list, we want to explore all your options and show you ways to allocate your finances in ways you may not have considered. Every dollar saved in taxes is another dollar you can use to make the world a better place. 

One opportunity could be to use your required minimum distributions (RMDs) toward this end. Instead of transferring the money into your bank account, consider sending your RMDs straight to a charity, which is called a qualified charitable distribution (QCD).

Qualified Charitable Distributions

While cutting out yourself as a middleman saves you a lot of time and administration, that’s not where the greatest benefit of a QCD lies. The greatest benefit is actually financial. You can save a lot of money on taxes by sending your RMD directly to a charity instead of taking it for yourself first. 

When you make a QCD, it is excluded from your taxable income because the amount that you donate never shows up on your tax return. This leaves you with a lower taxable income and, therefore, a lower tax bill. And you don’t even have to itemize your deductions to get this tax break. 

Can You Make a Qualified Charitable Distribution?

Not all retirement accounts are eligible to use the funds as a QCD. It has to be an IRA that is a traditional, rollover, inherited, inactive SEP, or inactive SIMPLE plan. A SEP or SIMPLE is considered inactive if no employer contribution has been made during the plan year that ends during the tax year that the charitable contribution is made. 

In addition to having the right kind of account, these other requirements must be met: (1)

  • You must be age 70½ or older.
  • To count toward the RMD for the year, the funds must come out of the IRA account by the RMD deadline, which is usually December 31. Excess donations cannot count toward future-year RMDs.
  • QCDs cannot be greater than the amount that would otherwise be taxed as ordinary income (excluding non-deductible contributions).
  • Total QCDs cannot exceed $100,000 per calendar year per taxpayer, regardless of the number of charities donated to.
  • Funds must be distributed directly to the charity. If you take a distribution and then give it to charity, it does not count as a QCD.

Will Your Charity Accept a Qualified Charitable Distribution?

After establishing your own eligibility, you need to make sure that your charity is also eligible to receive a QCD. First, it must be a 501(c)(3) organization that is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. 

On top of that, there are certain types of organizations that are not eligible to receive QCDs. They are: (2)

  • Private foundations
  • Supporting organizations (charities that only exist to support other exempt organizations, usually public charities)
  • Donor-advised funds managed by public charities on behalf of individuals, families, or organizations

How Are Qualified Charitable Distributions Reported?

Unless it is an inherited IRA, QCDs are reported as normal distributions on Form 1099-R. For inherited IRAs, they are reported as death distributions. Though state rules vary, QCDs are not subject to federal tax withholding. 

Because it is already tax-free, you may not claim the QCD as a charitable tax deduction. Even though you aren’t claiming it as a deduction, you need the same acknowledgment of the donation that you would need if you were. Keep this in your records in order to document the fact that the QCD was in fact qualified. 

Work With a Professional

We at Favor Wealth understand that giving to charity is important to you—and doing so in the most tax-efficient manner possible seems like a win-win. QCDs are a great opportunity for anyone who is required to take minimum distributions from their retirement accounts, but there are a lot of rules and requirements. To learn if this might be a good option for you, contact us at 626-529-0445 or email Ricky directly at info@favorwealth.com

About Ricky

Ricky Biel is founder, wealth manager and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselorâ„  professional at Favor Wealth, an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. Ricky Biel founded Favor Wealth with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Ricky and his team of caring, smart professionals want their clients to feel like they’ve done them a favor, making it easier than ever to accomplish their financial goals by blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies. He is on a mission to help his family of clients feel both a sense of relief and excitement about their future. Favor Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the Favor Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at 626-529-0445 or email Ricky directly at info@favorwealth.com

The commentary on this blog/website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Favor Wealth Advisors’ employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Favor Wealth Advisors or performance returns of any Favor Wealth Advisors’ Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Favor Wealth Advisors manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

____________

(1) https://www.fidelity.com/building-savings/learn-about-iras/required-minimum-distributions/qcds#:~:text=You%20must%20be%2070%C2%BD%20or,for%20a%20QCD%20is%20%24100%2C000

(2) https://www.kiplinger.com/article/taxes/t055-c032-s014-10-things-anyone-considering-a-qdc-should-know.html