As we approach the year-end tax planning season, it’s crucial to explore smart strategies that can both support charitable causes and provide tax advantages. We are lucky enough to have great group of clients that give year after year. One such strategy worth considering is the Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Covered in this post are the key details of QCDs. As well as their benefits, and how you can take advantage of this tax-saving opportunity.

Understanding Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs)

What are QCDs? A QCD allows individuals aged 70½ or older to make tax-free charitable donations directly from their IRA. The maximum amount that can be distributed annually through QCDs is $100,000 per individual. For married couples filing jointly, each spouse can exclude up to $100,000, resulting in a potential total of $200,000 in tax-free distributions per year.

Tax-Free IRA Distributions: Normally, withdrawals from a traditional IRA are subject to taxation. However, QCDs provide a unique advantage. They allow direct transfers from your IRA to a qualified charity without incurring tax liabilities. It’s important to note that if the distribution is paid directly to the IRA owner and is subsequently donated to a charity, it does not qualify as a QCD.

Eligibility Criteria: To take advantage of QCDs, individuals must be at least 70½ years old when the distribution is made. Each spouse in a married couple must have their own IRA and meet the age requirement for joint filers to benefit from the increased distribution amount.

Making a Qualified Charitable Distribution

Initiating a QCD: If you’re considering a QCD for the tax year 2023, it’s essential to act promptly. Contact your IRA trustee as soon as possible, providing them with the name of the eligible charity and the amount you wish to donate. To qualify for the current tax year, the transaction must be completed before December 31. Ensure you give the trustee sufficient time to finalize the transaction before the year-end deadline.

Documentation Requirements: While QCDs themselves are not deductible as charitable contributions (since the distribution isn’t included in your income), you must obtain a “contemporaneous” written acknowledgment from the charity before filing your tax return. This acknowledgment should include the date and amount of the contribution and specify whether you received anything of value in return.

What type of Charity Can Receive a QCD?

To qualify as an eligible charity for QCDs, the organization must meet certain criteria:

  1. 501(c)(3) Organizations:
    • The charity must be a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Most public charities, private foundations, and religious organizations fall under this category.
  2. Public Charities:
    • Public charities, which receive a significant portion of their funding from the general public, are typically eligible for QCDs. Examples include universities, hospitals, and community foundations.
  3. Private Operating Foundations:
    • Some private foundations that actively operate programs and services may qualify to receive QCDs. These are different from private non-operating foundations, which primarily make grants to other organizations.
  4. Donor-Advised Funds:
    • Donor-advised funds (DAFs) that are classified as 501(c)(3) organizations may also be eligible to receive QCDs. It’s important to note that direct contributions to donor-advised funds do not qualify for QCD treatment; the funds must go directly to the charitable organization.
  5. Religious Organizations:
    • Churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious organizations that are recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) are generally eligible to receive QCDs.


Qualified Charitable Distributions offer a tax-efficient way for individuals aged 70½ and older to support charitable causes while minimizing their tax obligations. As we approach the end of the year, consider exploring this strategy. It will allow you to maximize your impact on charitable organizations and optimize your tax planning. Remember to consult with your tax advisor and IRA trustee to ensure a seamless and compliant process for making QCDs in 2023. If you need to get more information or consultation help click the link here to get in contact with us.

By strategically leveraging QCDs, you can contribute to the causes you care about while enjoying valuable tax benefits. Plan ahead and make a difference in both your financial well-being and the communities you support.