Make a tax-free rollover from your IRA to charity | NevadaAppeal.com

Make a tax-free rollover from your IRA to charity

William Creekbaum
For the Appeal

On August 17, 2006, President Bush signed into law the Pension Protection Act of 2006. This is sweeping legislation that not only strengthens the retirement savings health of our nation, but also sets forth many attractive charitable gifting incentives for charitably minded investors.

If you are age 70 or older, you may rollover up to $100,000 in 2007 tax-free from your IRA to a qualified public charity. The rollover amount will not be included in your gross income and you will not receive a charitable deduction for this donation.

Here’s how to handle your charitable donation correctly.

Contact your financial advisor before making a donation in order to arrange for the proper transfer of funds from your IRA to the charity. You must authorize the financial institution where your IRA is held to send a donation directly to the charity, either through a wire transfer or by writing a check made out to the charity.

You cannot write a check to the charity either from your IRA or from another account into which you transferred your IRA funds. Doing so would negate the tax-free transfer of the donation under the new rules, because the amount would be considered a regular distribution and would then be added to your taxable income.

You must be age 70 on or before the date of the charitable transfer. The charity must be a public charity but not a donor-advised fund or supporting organization. Check with your tax advisor to determine if the organization you wish to donate to fits the definition of a “qualified” charity.

You cannot receive anything of value in return for your donation, such as tickets to a charitable event, for example. The exclusion from gross income only applies to distribution amounts that would have been eligible for inclusion in gross income were it not for this provision. If you have made non-deductible contributions to your IRA, have your tax advisor determine how much of the donation is considered tax-free under this provision.

Transfers to charities from other retirement plans, such as a SEP or SIMPLE IRA, or a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, would not qualify under this provision. However, it may be possible to rollover funds from these accounts into a traditional IRA and then make an eligible transfer.

You can only make distributions up to $100,000 from your own IRA. If you are married, your spouse may make another qualified distribution from his or her IRA of up to $100,000, as long as all the other qualifications are met as well. This makes a married couple eligible for a total maximum contribution of $200,000.

The tax-free rollover of qualified charitable distributions can be particularly attractive for donors who need to take required minimum distributions from their IRAs. Under the new law, you can satisfy your required minimum distributions of up to $100,000 by making a tax-free qualified donation to charity using these funds.

However, you must arrange with your financial institution to send these distributions directly to your charity. In general, the new law also helps taxpayers living in states that do not allow itemized deductions or charitable-income tax contribution deductions for state income tax purposes. Those states include New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Because Nevada does not have a state income tax, Nevada residents do not qualify for such a state deduction.

Time is running out to take advantage of this fantastic estate planning benefit. For more information about how you can take advantage of the new IRA rollover to charities donation initiative and whether this technique is appropriate for you, contact your tax and financial advisors as well as the charity to which you want to donate.

For more information, e-mail william.a.creekbaum@smithbarney.com or call 689-8700.

Smith Barney does not provide tax and/or legal advice. Please consult your tax and/or legal advisors for such advice.

• William Creekbaum, MBA, CFP, a Washoe Valley resident, is senior investment management consultant of SmithBarney, a financial services firm serving Northern Nevada at 6005 Plumas Street, Ste. 200 Reno, NV 89509.