IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution

The “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” Act went into effect on January 1, 2020, changing many of the rules governing retirement plans, including several provisions relevant to making qualified charitable distributions, or QCDs, from your traditional IRA.

Under the SECURE Act, the IRA QCD remains a terrific way to make a tax-free gift to Population Connection using your traditional IRA.


If you haven’t yet turned 70 ½, then the SECURE Act increased the age at which you must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) to 72. If you already turned 70 ½ by December 31, 2019, then you’re grandfathered in and must still make RMDs from your traditional IRA. For both age groups, you may make QCDs beginning at age 70 ½. In fact, there are still good reasons to consider a QCD at 70 ½, even if you aren’t yet at the age of being required to take a minimum distribution.

First, a QCD is not included in your income. Your QCD is always a tax-free gift. This could be advantageous when you compare the option of giving cash you’ve already counted toward your income, and taking a tax deduction. Your income level would be higher, possibly increasing your tax bracket.

Another reason to consider a QCD at 70 ½ is to reduce the balance in your IRA. At age 72 or older, your RMD is based on the balance in your IRA at the end of each year multiplied by a factor published by the IRS. You may be in a position where you don’t want or need the income from your IRA. Higher income can increase your Medicare premiums and create other tax issues.

Consider making QCDs starting at 70 ½ to reduce the balance in your IRA. Another change brought on by the SECURE Act is the elimination of the stretch IRA for many beneficiaries. With a few exceptions, children and other non-spouses who are more than 10 years younger than you can no longer stretch their withdrawals from an IRA they inherit from you over their life expectancy. Instead, they must withdraw and pay income tax on all funds within 10 years. This change means that it may be most tax efficient for you to support Population Connection by making QCDs during your lifetime and provide for your heirs by setting aside other assets.

Please be sure to consult with your own accountant or financial advisor to obtain the best tax advice specific to your own circumstances.

To qualify for a special Tax-Free IRA Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD) to Population Connection, please make sure:

  • You will be at least 70 ½ years of age on the date of your gift.
  • Your giving does not exceed a total of $100,000 per donor per year.
  • You are giving from a traditional IRA or ROTH IRA and NOT from any other type of retirement plan (such as 401(k), 403(b), 457, Keogh, ESOP, etc.).
  • Gifts must go directly from your IRA to Population Connection.
  • You cannot receive a benefit in return for your gift.

A sample letter of instruction for the charitable distribution and an IRA QCD form are provided below for you to mail to us.  For more information, please contact Jennifer Lynaugh at jlynaugh@popconnect.org (202)974-7710.