income tax

How to Report an IRA Charitable Distribution on Your Tax Return

Your IRA administrator will send you a 1099-R, noting your entire distribution; you need to report it to Uncle Sam -- and call out what portion was used as a qualified charitable distribution -- on your 1040.

Question: I am 75 years old and had to take $6,300 in required minimum distributions from my IRA in 2018. In October, I asked my IRA administrator to send $5,000 to a local education foundation (as a tax-free qualified charitable distribution) and to send me a check for the remaining $1,300. I received a 1099-R from my IRA administrator, and it shows total distributions of $6,300. How do I report the $5,000 I sent to the charity so that money isn’t included in my adjusted gross income?

Answer: A lot of people have that question at this time of year. When you receive your 1099-R, your IRA administrator just reports the amount of money that was distributed from your IRA and doesn’t specify whether it was a withdrawal or a tax-free transfer to a charity. (After you turn 70½, you can transfer up to $100,000 each year tax-free from your traditional IRA to charity, which counts as your required minimum distributions but isn’t included in your adjusted gross income. This is called a qualified charitable distribution, or QCD.)

When you file your Form 1040, you report the total distribution of $6,300 on line 4a. Then report $1,300 on line 4b and enter “QCD” to indicate that the remaining $5,000 is a qualified charitable distribution, which is not taxable. (If you had contributed your full RMD to charity, you would write $0 and “QCD” on line 4b.)

Keep an acknowledgement from the charity showing that it received your contribution in your tax records. See The Rules for Making a Tax-Free Donation from an IRA for more information about the procedure and tax records to keep.

For more information about reporting the QCD when you file your income tax return, see page 29 of the Instructions for Form 1040 at IRS.gov.

Most Popular

How a Third Stimulus Check Could Differ From Your First and Second Payments
Coronavirus and Your Money

How a Third Stimulus Check Could Differ From Your First and Second Payments

There's going to be a big push for a third round of stimulus payments. But the amount and eligibility rules for your third stimulus check could be dif…
January 12, 2021
Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer
Coronavirus and Your Money

Where's My Stimulus Check? Use the IRS's "Get My Payment" Portal to Get an Answer

The IRS updated its popular online tool so that you can track the status of your second stimulus check.
January 9, 2021
When Could We Get a Third Stimulus Check?
Coronavirus and Your Money

When Could We Get a Third Stimulus Check?

It's clear that President-elect Joe Biden and others in Congress are going to push for a third-round of stimulus checks, but it might be a while befor…
January 11, 2021

Recommended

12 IRS Audit Red Flags for Retirees
retirement

12 IRS Audit Red Flags for Retirees

Seniors Beware: Your actions can increase the chances of the IRS giving your tax return a closer look.
January 14, 2021
20 Most-Overlooked Tax Breaks and Deductions
Tax Breaks

20 Most-Overlooked Tax Breaks and Deductions

Don't miss these frequently overlooked tax deductions, credits and exemptions. Otherwise, you're just pouring money down the drain.
January 14, 2021
Fund Your IRA, Cut Your Taxes
Tax Breaks

Fund Your IRA, Cut Your Taxes

There’s still time to make a 2020 IRA contribution and lower your tax bill.
January 13, 2021
22 IRS Audit Red Flags
tax returns

22 IRS Audit Red Flags

There's no sure way to avoid an IRS audit of your tax return, but these red flags could increase your chances of drawing unwanted attention from the I…
January 12, 2021