IRA, 401k, or 403b Charitable Giving
Donating during your lifetime: In order to donate retirement plan assets during your lifetime you would need to take a distribution from the retirement account, include the distribution in your income for that year, account for any taxes associated with the distribution, and then contribute cash to the charity—with one exception. People who are age 70 ½ or older can contribute up to $100,000 from their IRA directly to a charity and avoid paying income taxes on the distribution. This is known as a qualified charitable distribution. It is limited to IRAs, and there are other exclusions and considerations as well.
Retirement plan benefits are only payable to the employee or account holder who earned them, with a few exceptions for spouses or survivors. With the exception of a qualified charitable distribution as described above, distributions from non-Roth retirement plans are taxable as ordinary income to the person who receives them.
This is true whether the recipient is the original account holder or a beneficiary of the account holder. Unlike other inheritances that can be passed to heirs free of income tax, distributions from inherited retirement plans are taxable as ordinary income to the person who receives them.
As part of an estate plan: By contrast, there can be significant tax advantages to donating retirement assets to charity as part of an estate plan. When done properly, charitable donations of retirement assets can minimize the amount of income taxes imposed on both your individual heirs and your estate.
When you name a charity as a beneficiary to receive your IRA or other retirement assets upon your death, rather than donating retirement assets during your lifetime, the benefits multiply:
Neither you and your heirs nor your estate will pay income taxes on the distribution of the assets.
Your estate will need to include the value of the assets as part of the gross estate but will receive a tax deduction for the charitable contribution, which can be used to offset the estate taxes.
Because charities do not pay income tax, the full amount of your retirement account will directly benefit the charity of your choice.
It’s possible to divide your retirement assets between charities and heirs according to any percentages you choose.
You have the opportunity to support a cause you care about as part of your legacy.
Agape Ranch urges all prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts, including the resulting tax and estate planning consequences. The information above is intended to provide general information on gift giving and should not be used as specific legal, tax, or investment advice.