Welcome to the EPAC Corner! We are pleased to bring you this content from the Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) of the DeKalb County Community Foundation. If you have any questions about the information below or the EPAC group, please contact Community Foundation Executive Director Dan Templin at 815-748-5383 or email@example.com.
Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) are a popular financial and charitable planning tool. However, there are still questions surrounding QCDs. Here are answers to five of the most frequent questions.
1.) “Is an IRA (Individual Retirement Account) the only eligible source for Qualified Charitable Distributions?”
Short answer: Almost.
Long answer: An individual can make a Qualified Charitable Distribution directly to an eligible charity from a traditional IRA or an inherited IRA. If the individual’s employer is no longer contributing to a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plan or a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA, the individual may use those accounts as well. In theory, a Roth IRA could be used to make a QCD, but it is rarely advantageous to do that because Roth IRA distributions are already tax free.
2.) “What is the difference between a QCD and an RMD?”
Short answer: Quite a bit since a QCD can count toward an RMD.
Long answer: Everyone must start taking Required Minimum Distributions (“RMDs”) from their qualified retirement plans, including IRAs, when they reach the age of 72. RMDs are taxable income. The Qualified Charitable Distribution, by contrast, is a distribution directly from certain types of qualified retirement plans (such as IRAs) to certain types of charities. When a taxpayer follows the rules, a QCD can count toward the taxpayer’s RMD for that year. And because the QCD goes directly to charity, the taxpayer is not taxed on that distribution.
3.) “Can I make a Qualified Charitable Distribution even if I am not yet required to take Required Minimum Distributions?”
Short answer: Yes–within a very narrow age window.
Long answer: RMDs and QCDs are both distributions that impact retirement-age taxpayers, and it would seem logical that the age thresholds would be the same. Under the SECURE Act, though, the required date for starting RMDs was shifted from 70 ½ to 72 (which is better for taxpayers who want to delay taxable income). A corresponding shift was not made to the eligible age for executing QCDs; that age is still 70 ½ (which benefits taxpayers who wish to access IRA funds to make charitable gifts even before they are required to take RMDs).
The IRS’s rules for QCDs are captured in Internal Revenue Code Section 408 and summarized on pages 14 and 15 in Publication 590-B in its FAQs publication.
4.) “Can I direct a QCD to my Fund at the Community Foundation?”
Short answer: Yes, if it’s a qualifying Fund.
Long answer: While Donor Advised Funds are not eligible recipients of Qualified Charitable Distributions, other types of Funds at the Community Foundation can receive QCDs. These include Designated Funds, Community Impact Funds, Field of Interest Funds, and Scholarship Funds.
5.) “How much can I give through a QCD?”
Short answer: $100,000 per year.
Long answer: A Qualified Charitable Distribution permits you (and your spouse from your spouse’s own IRA or IRAs) to transfer up to $100,000 each year from an IRA (or multiple IRAs) to a qualified charity. So, as a married couple, you and your spouse may be eligible to direct up to a total of $200,000 per year to charity from your IRAs and avoid significant income tax liability.
– Matthew L. Brown, local attorney and member of the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee
Established in 2020, the DeKalb County Estate Planning Advisory Committee (EPAC) is comprised of local professionals providing estate planning services, including Attorneys, Trust Officers, CPAs, Wealth Advisors, and Insurance Agents. The purpose of the EPAC is to raise awareness and understanding of the Community Foundation as a resource for professional advisors and their clients, assist with efforts to deliver effective estate planning education to the general public, and to notify estate planning professionals on topics relevant to the intersection of estate planning and philanthropy.