What a Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) Means for Your Taxes

3 min read
September 20, 2021

If you recall, I wrote about donor-advised funds back in March. Rounding out the topic of charitable giving, I will be providing information in this blog about utilizing an IRA rollover to complete a qualified charitable distribution (QCD). With an IRA rollover directly to a qualified charity, there are a few rules to be aware of which are different than donor-advised funds. I will review some common rules and reasons why someone might consider a qualified charitable distribution when giving to charities. We here at XYTS would be remiss not to provide you with information about an opportunity to reduce your tax burden while giving.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) nearly doubled the standard deduction, consequently making it more difficult to itemize deductions, including donations, and file form Schedule A. That’s a big reason I am writing this today—I am excited to introduce the qualified charitable distribution (QCD) as an opportunity to give more generously and reduce the tax burden.

What is a QCD?

A qualified charitable distribution is a slightly different vehicle for donating to your favorite charities. Let’s review some of the rules when considering this avenue to fulfill your generous soul!

  • You must be 70.5 years old at the time of the QCD gift.
  • Keep in mind, required minimum distributions now are required at age 72; however, you can still utilize a QCD at 70.5 years old.
  • You can give up to $100,000/per individual in a year from your IRA to a qualified 501c organization.
  • Your IRA account cannot be actively receiving any employer contributions.
  • Funds must be transferred directly from your IRA custodian to the qualified charity. Do not accept a check with your name on it, and this will count as a taxable distribution to you. Make sure to provide clear instructions to your custodian provider.

Reasons to use a QCD

So you know what a QCD is and who can take advantage of this donation strategy, but why? You’ll need some reasons why using a QCD is better than writing a check! And sure, I get it—it seems like a lot of hoops to jump through to contribute to your favorite charities. Let me outline a few reasons for you to think more seriously about utilizing QCDs.

  • The amount you contribute via your QCD means less income to report on your tax return. This amount is not included in your gross income.
  • You can use the QCD amount to offset your required minimum distribution when you reach age 72.
  • If you decide to use more money than your RMD, you could reduce future RMDs.
  • Even if you use the standard deduction, you are eligible to use a QCD if you are 70.5 years old at the time of the gift.
  • You can spread your gifts to several charities.

Is a qualified charitable distribution in your philanthropic future? I sure hope this information has encouraged you to continue your good deeds and has provided you with a new way to think about being a giver. As a reminder, to take advantage of this on your 2021 tax return, you must ask your custodian to send a check by 12/31. If you have any remaining questions about the giving vehicle that is a QCD, or any other tax topics, don’t hesitate to find us here at XYTS. In the meantime, happy giving!

Pam Hocevar

About the Author

Pam Hocevar is an Enrolled Agent and a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional with XY Tax Solutions (XYTS). Pam is the real deal when it comes to all things taxes, and she’s got the experience to back her up; she has over 15 years behind her, during 10 of which she ran the show as the owner of her own business. When she’s not working, you’ll find Pam hiking, camping, kayaking, enjoying a jam session on her baritone Ukulele, or attending a music festival.

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