I don't want to withdraw and pay taxes on the cash in the IRA for obvious reasons. Hopefully the face value of the IRA will be the amount I can count as a charitable gift, but I'm more concerned with the resources I can provide to the charity than my own tax status. I do have accountants and lawyers but I wanted to start with competent minds in this forum.

Note: I am sixty years old.

  • 2
    Many charities above a certain size will have experience with this situation, people on staff, or relationships with advisors who could assist. Perhaps you'll want ask them for advice, as well.
    – spuck
    Apr 27 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


The charity will not be able to withdraw anything from your IRA, it is yours. Only you can withdraw from it.

In order to donate the amount you first need to withdraw it. It will be reported to you as a distribution on 1099-R, and you'll have to add it to the taxable income as required.

At your age, the only way to donate the IRA and not money from the IRA is through inheritance, when you die. When you get older, and are 70.5 years or older, you may use the "charitable donation distribution" exception to distribute from your IRA directly to the charity and avoid tax on that distribution.

See more details about qualified charity distribution here. Also, see the discussion on donations and retirement accounts on Fidelity website.

  • 2
    If you do take this money out as a taxable withdrawal, you may be able to itemize your deductions and offset the taxes on your withdrawal. Apr 26 at 18:06
  • 2
    @BrianBorchers: Though, assuming most retirees with meaningful taxable income have long since paid off their mortgage, there'd likely be a pretty significant gap between the pre-charity deductions (especially if married, thanks to the SALT cap) and the standard deduction which would go completely uncompensated. The charitable donation distribution exception is a much better way to go (you're not subject to RMDs until that age or older, so there's no need to withdraw at all until then), if they're willing to wait. Apr 26 at 22:50
  • @ShadowRanger no disagreement, just pointing out an option. Apr 27 at 1:47
  • Instead of a will, can't you make the charity the beneficiary of the IRA?
    – Barmar
    Apr 27 at 14:53
  • 1
    @BrianBorchers - Deductions are limited to at most 60% of your income, so unless you have enough other income, that 100K withdrawal will no be offset by the charitable deduction. (And as already noted, you lose the standard deduction as well.) Even though the excess deduction will carry forward, your MAGI is increased, possibly raising your Medicare premiums. If you can wait to 70 ½, the QCD is the way to go.
    – Llaves
    Apr 28 at 0:22

Web searching "donate IRA" funds some relevant information.

Fidelity Charitable (their DAF arm) says

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.

If you want to donate from the IRA before then, I believe you need to withdraw the money, take the tax hit if any, donate it and take the deduction by itemizing. A quick search didn't find an "in kind" mechanism for donating equities directly from an IRA.

Searching on Qualified Charitable Distribution should find more details, from that site and others. Sometimes half the battle is figuring out the search phrase; hope this gets you pointed in the right directions.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .