Tuesday, July 24, 2007

New Tax Break for Donations to Charities

This posting is by a non-expert on tax law, and is intended to stimulate thought. You should verify the information with a tax lawyer or other knowledgeable source before acting on the information. But for some readers, this may be a great time to make charitable contributions to qualifying organizations such as Americans for UNESCO.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) permits an an individual who is 70 ½ or older to roll over up to $100,000 from an individual retirement account (IRA) directly to a qualifying charity without recognizing the assets transferred to the qualifying charity as income. This provision is time-limited; it applies only to distributions made in taxable years beginning after December 31, 2005 and before January 1, 2008. However, since the rollover does not count as income, the donor can not take a deduction against taxes for the contribution (since to do so would be to double count the donation).

This provision of the law will benefit certain tax payers. For those who itemize donations on their tax returns, the rollover will not count against the limit on deductions for donations. Thus a large donation could be made via the rollover without affecting the deduction available for other charitable donations. For those who do not itemize deductions, the rollover would still be tax free.

According to an article in Independent Sector
Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Representatives Earl Pomeroy (D-ND) and Wally Herger (R-CA) have introduced the “Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2007” in the House (H.R. 1419) and Senate (S. 819).......

The “Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2007” would extend and broaden the current IRA Rollover, scheduled to expire this December, by making it permanent, removing the current $100,000 annual limit on donations, making all charities eligible to receive donations, and providing IRA owners with a planned giving option starting at age 59½.
However, the bill has not been passed and may not become law. If you qualify, this may be the moment to take advantage of the provision of the current law which is scheduled to expire at the end of December.

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