Advice from the best regarding the IRA charitable rollover

Last week, I gave a presentation at the Planned Giving Council of Greater Philadelphia and was treated a luncheon presentation by Laura Peebles,, one of the top tax experts regarding charitable giving in the country.

And, to my relief, Laura addressed the issue of the now expired IRA charitable giving provision – in the same way I have been advising for awhile now.  No, she did not know if or when it might be reenacted.  But, she did have some advice.  Tell your donors/prospects that they should go ahead and make gifts directly from their IRAs to charities of their choice (donors age 70.5+ and up to $100,000).  Call your plan administrators and ask to make a direct transfer to charity. If the law is reenacted, your gift qualifies.  If it doesn’t, virtually no harm – donor gets an offsetting deduction. (charities, communicate this to your donors and be on top of the potential need to send deduction letters once the year closes if the law doesn’t make it).

In other words, tell your donors to go for it.  Now is the time as your donors are now getting ready to take their required minimum distributions.  Let those distributions go to the charity of their choice and hopefully, the gifts will qualify but no harm done if not.


    1. Take it up with Ms. Peebles. In truth, maybe it costs a donor a few dollars. I have researched and asked several accountants – and they all agree that the tax cost is generally minimal. Of course, I always tell donors to run it by their accountants.

    2. I’m grateful for this reaction because I feel this is an oversimplification (I’m not a seasoned PG veteran or tax attorney). I have a pending donor who wishes to make this gift of $100k from her IRA into a CGA — she doesn’t want to do the gift without the provision. I don’t want to approach her with Ms. Peebles’ recommendation if it really is an oversimplification.

      1. Great question! For someone considering $100,000 – in any case – they must confer with their accountant! Issue #1: will she be able to take the entire $100,000 deduction (should the law not pass) in the same tax year as the $100,000 of IRA withdrawal income? If the $100,000 deduction exceeds 50% of her AGI (not likely but certainly possible), she might have to carry over some deduction to the next tax year and from a tax standpoint, is a cost! Issue #2: will an increase of $100,000 in taxable income with a corresponding $100,000 tax deduction change her tax bracket or have any other negative effect. What Jane Peebles and other accountants (she is a top tax lawyer, too) are saying is that the so-called cost from issue #2 is minimal and most can just go ahead and make the gift (no harm or barely any harm!).

        That being said, every accountant that has been consulted by their clients that I am aware of has told their donors to hold off on the IRA gift in any case! That is just how accountants are – ultra conservative and scared down to the penny. I would suggest recommending that she confer with her accountant as there is some talk that in many cases, there no or very little tax harm in making the gift from an IRA with the law in place.

Leave a Reply