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The impact of Qualified Charitable Distributions on taxes

A 2014 Qualified Charitable Donation reduces your 2014

A 2014 Qualified Charitable Donation reduces your 2014 taxable income, and therefore can't be claimed as a tax deduction. Photo Credit: iStock

I gave my 2014 required minimum distribution [known as RMD] from my IRA directly to a charity as a Qualified Charitable Distribution. Can I take this distribution as a deduction on line 16 of Schedule A?

No. You can't claim a deduction for a Qualified Charitable Distribution, widely known as QCD, because the amount you gave is subtracted from your taxable income.

The tax benefit of the QCD is that it let you satisfy your 2014 RMD obligation without adding to your 2014 income. (The QCD goes on line 15a, but not on line 15 b, of Form 1040.) Reducing your income cuts your tax bill; and having a smaller income might help you qualify for tax credits and/or deductions for which you'd otherwise be ineligible.

QCDs are appealing to people who want to give to charity and don't need their RMDs to cover their living expenses. QCDs also appeal to charitably inclined wealthy taxpayers looking to reduce their taxable income. The gift isn't capped at your RMD. The maximum QCD is $100,000 per year per taxpayer. In other words, a married couple could claim a total QCD of $200,000 as long as each of them is eligible and neither donated more than $100,000 from his or her IRA.

A few caveats:

The law allowing QCDs applies only to the 2014 tax year, and only to gifts made from IRAs. To be eligible, you must have been at least 70½ on the date of the donation. The gift must be made directly from your IRA to the charity. ("Directly" means the check drawn on the IRA was payable to the charity.)

It's not unlikely that Congress will reinstate this tax break retroactively for 2015. The current law was retroactively reinstated in mid-December 2014.

THE BOTTOM LINE A 2014 Qualified Charitable Donation reduces your 2014 taxable income, and therefore can't be claimed as a tax deduction.

WEBSITES WITH MORE INFORMATION nwsdy.li/donateRMD and nwsdy.li/QCD

TO ASK THE EXPERT Send questions to Ask the Expert /Act 2, Newsday Newsroom, 235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville, NY 11747-4226, or email act2@newsday.com. Include your name, address and phone number. Questions can be answered only in this column. Advice is offered as general guidance. Check with your own advisers for your specific needs.

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