Congress Makes Permanent IRA Distributions to Public Charities

December 21, 2015

On December 18, 2015 President Obama signed the “Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015.”

The PATH Act make permanent a number of so-called Tax Extenders, which refers to taxpayer-favorable laws which had expired on December 31, 2014 and at the end of recent prior years. One of the Tax Extenders which is made permanent by the PATH Act enables taxpayers who are age 70½ or older to satisfy all or a portion of their required minimum distributions (“RMDs”) by making income tax-free distributions of up to $100,000 per year directly from an individual retirement account (IRA) to a public charity or a “conduit” private foundation. These distributions are not includible in the taxpayer’s income and are therefore not subject to the percentage limitations which disallow deductions totaling more than 50% of a taxpayer’s adjusted gross income for gifts to public charities in any one year. Also, because these IRA distributions are not included in the taxpayer’s income they do not generate an income tax charitable deduction.

Individuals who have not yet taken their RMDs for 2015 have until December 31st to satisfy, in whole or in part, their 2015 RMDs by a distribution directly to one or more public charities. Because the rule is now permanent, another distribution of up to $100,000 could be made as early as January 2016.