Making Your Contributions Tax Deductible – A Message from our Treasurer
If you’re over age 70 ½ and plan to take the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from your IRA and/or 401k account—and you want to get a tax deduction for your charitable contributions—the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) requires that you rethink your tax planning.
The TCJA increased the Standard Deduction for married couples to $24,000 ($12,000 for individuals) and limited itemized deductions for real estate and income taxes to $10,000. In practical terms, if you’re married and the total of qualifying mortgage interest plus medical expenses over 7.5% of your total income do not exceed $14,000 ($2,000 for individuals), some or all of your charitable contributions will give you no reduction in your income taxes.
How to get tax benefits for your charitable contributions? Pay them directly from your IRA/401k account as part or all of your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). Your charitable contributions (up to $100,000) will reduce the amount of RMD income you report for the year. This will lower your taxable income by the amount of the contribution, the same result as if you reported the full RMD and took an itemized deduction for the charitable contributions.
To adopt this strategy, you must make the decision before you receive your RMD for the year. This will reduce the RMD that will be reported to the IRS and shown on your tax return by the amount of your charitable contribution. In order to receive a tax benefit, you must direct the custodian of your IRA/401k to transfer the amount of the RMD gift directly to the nonprofit, not to you.
Richard L. Hecht is a retired Managing Partner of Marks Paneth & Shron LLP and currently works as a financial and tax consultant. He currently serves as Treasurer of the White Plains Library Foundation.
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