Transfer Charitable Donations Directly from IRAs

Until the end of the year, some Americans can take advantage of a law that lets them donate money directly from their IRA without paying any tax on it. It's a pilot program, but an idea that's been around for years.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

This counts as good news for older Americans who want to give money to charity. Until the end of the year, some Americans can take advantage of a law that lets them donate money directly from their IRA without paying any taxes. All you have to do, according to the government, is be 70 and a half years or older. Here's tax expert Ed Slott(ph).

Mr. ED SLOTT (Tax Expert): You can have funds transferred directly from your IRA to a charity. In other words, you call your bank, broker, mutual fund company, wherever your IRA money is and have them deliver the money to your favorite college, the YMCA, wherever you want to give your charity.

INSKEEP: Notice he said directly from the IRA to the charity. You cannot withdraw the money now and write a check later. Also the new provision is in place only for this year and the next.

Mr. SLOTT: Many people who want to give to charity have most of their money in IRAs, and they have been asking for years, saying, you know, this is where I'd like to give money from. But if I - the only way to do it is take the money out, pay the tax, raise my tax bracket and then maybe get a tax deduction. And they finally slipped in this law.

INSKEEP: Here's another change to the law. Soon it may get harder to get credit for giving. Starting next year, Congress will require a paper trail for any donation of cash or write-ins before you can claim a tax deduction. You'll need to have a receipt for every contribution, even for donations you put into the church collection plate.

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