Qualified Charitable Distribution: Last Minute Tax Tips for Seniors

 

Qualified Charitable Distributions help save on taxes

If you are over 70 and 1/2, you may be able to take advantage of a Qualified Charitable Distribution.

 

UPDATED FOR 2016

 

The Qualified Charitable Distribution (also known as a Charitable IRA Rollover) is now a permanent part of the tax code!

 

What is a Qualified Charitable Distribution (or QCD)?  If you’re 70 and 1/2 or   older, you’re required to make required minimum distributions (RMD) from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA.)  Even if you don’t need the money, you have to take it out of your retirement account and you have to pay tax on it.  If you don’t, the penalties are even worse than any tax you’d have to pay. Additionally, many seniors don’t get the benefit of claiming their charitable donations on their income tax returns because they don’t have enough other things to deduct like mortgage interest.

 

The Qualified Charitable Distribution helps with this problem by allowing you to take money out of your IRA and make a direct contribution to a charity.  The distribution counts towards your RMD and it’s tax free to you because it went to the charity.  That’s a win/win situation!

 

Another advantage to the QCD is that the income from the distribution never shows up as income on the face of your tax return.  This is really helpful for people who may be able to claim other deductions or benefits based on having a lover Adjusted Gross Income (or AGI.)  For example:  if you had enough medical expenses to be deductible, a lower AGI would allow you to claim a bigger deduction.

 

Can you make a contribution of more than your RMD?  Yes you can.  You can actually make a charitable distribution of up to $100,000 from your IRA with no federal income tax impact.  $100,000 – that wasn’t a typo.  If you’re in a financial position to make a donation like this, that would be $100,000 to a charity of your choice with no limitations as to its deductibility because it’s part of an IRA charitable rollover.

 

Can you make a QCD if you’re less than 70 and 1/2 years old?  No, I’m afraid not.  You must be at least 70 and 1/2 at the time you make the distribution.

 

If you’re interested in making a Qualified Charitable Distribution, talk it over with your financial advisor and your charity.  You’ll want to make sure that it’s done correctly and you’ll want to keep good records in case there’s ever any question about your RMDs.

 

Can I still take a charitable deduction on my tax return for my QCD?   No, the QCD will be exempt from tax so you can’t claim it as an additional deduction.

 

Another Missouri Tax Credit: The Center for Head Injury Services

Updated May 21, 2016

 

Missouri Tax Credit for Center for Head Injury Services

 

 

I realize that I plug the Missouri Tax credits quite a bit, but when you’re choosing a charity, they really give you the best bang for your buck. You don’t just get a federal income tax deduction, you also get a 50% tax credit to offset your Missouri state income tax liability. The other thing that I really like about the Missouri Tax Credits is that the money you donate to these charities is staying right here in Missouri, helping our friends and neighbors. It’s a win/win/win situation.

Today I’m going to talk about the Center for Head Injury Services. The Center serves over 800 people each year who have head injuries or other cognitive disabilities. Their programs include employment assessment, job placement and day services.

The Missouri tax credits available fall under the categories of Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) tax credits and Youth Opportunity Tax Credits (YOP).   It’s available to businesses or individuals who contribute $500 or more to the organization.

Charities that qualify for Missouri Tax Credits have already been pre-screened by the state and meet pretty strict requirements about how they spend your money.   The idea behind these grants is that a well run non-profit organization can provide these valuable services better than the state can.

So why is the Center for Head Injury Services so important?  Many reasons.  Did you realize that over 2 million people suffer from brain injuries every year?  And what most people don’t realize is that brain injuries can cause permanent limitations and chronic health conditions that require long term support.  Brain injuries aren’t like a disease that can be cured.  The Center for Head Injury Services is a comprehensive resource to all types of head injury victims and their families.

They provide adult day care and therapy for persons with severe injuries and vocational and employment services to persons with less severe injuries.  They also provide counseling to families having trouble adjusting to disability issues.  They serve people with all types of head injuries whether its from a car accident, a stroke or an aneurysm.   Bottom line:  they do good work.

Even if you’re unable to qualify for a Missouri Tax credit, a donation to the Center for Head Injury would be money well spent.

One final thing, the Center for Head Injury Services has an equipment loan program.  If you have equipment that you are no longer using, they could use crutches, walkers, canes, wheel chairs, bath & shower chairs and benches, commodes, and other types of rehabilitative equipment.  Donating these items doesn’t qualify for the Missouri Tax Credit, but it would certainly be a good use of these items. You also might be able to qualify for a deduction on your federal return for “non-cash” contributions.

To learn more about the Center for Head Injury Services, click here:  https://www.headinjuryctr-stl.org/

 

Last Minute Tax Tip: Donating Stock to Charity

December is always the big  push time for charitable donations.  If you’ve ever thought about donating your stock holdings instead of plain cash, here are some things you should know.

First, if you have stock that has appreciated in value, you want to give the charity the stock and let them sell it for cash, instead of you selling it and giving them cash.  The reason is because you get to claim the charitable deduction for the fair market value of the stock you gave away, but you don’t have to pay any capital gains tax on the increase.  You have a win/win/win situation.  (No capital gains, plus charitable deduction, plus the charity gets stock they can sell for cash=win/win/win.)

Second, if you have stock that has gone down in value, you want to sell it first and then give the cash to the charity.  This is exactly the revese of the above.  By selling stock that’s gone down in value, you get to claim a capital loss which can offset you capital gains or up to $3,000 of your ordinary income.  Once again you have a win/win/win situation.  (Claim loss against income, get charitable deduction, plus charity gets cash.)

Although December 30 and 31 are the highest giving days for charity donations, you need to do this a little earlier in the month so that your brokerage has time to do all the transactions.  Make sure you have some wiggle room for your stock transactions to actually close and get it all done before Christmas.  Earlier if possible.

Bottom line:  stock goes up — give it directly to charity, stock goes down — sell first then give money to charity.  It’s that easy.