It seems like we may have finally heard the end of this “fiscal cliff” talk . . . at least for a little while.  As many people know, Legislation was recently enacted to keep the “Bush tax cuts” from completely expiring – with some tweaks to rates and, no surprise, plenty of special interest funding.  I’m working on a blog post that will summarize the estate, gift, and charitable planning aspects of the legislation, but there is one opportunity it provides that is critically time sensitive.

That is the ability to make a tax-free transfer from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) directly to a charity and have it count for 2012.  In the right situation, this is an incredibly opportunity – the kicker is that you must make the transfer no later than January 31, 2013.  Here are the highlights of the rules:

  • Taxpayers can make a direct transfer IRA distribution to charity without having to include the distribution in gross income (previously you would have had to include it in gross income and then take the charitable deduction on your tax return – not nearly as good a “deal”)
  • There is a $100,000 transfer limit per individual
  • The IRA owner must be at least 70.5 years old on the day of the transfer
  • Transfer from the IRA to the charity must be a direct transfer in order to qualify for the income exclusion

There are several additional technical requirements, so you really need to talk with your Michigan estate planning attorney or Michigan CPA about the opportunity and whether or not you can take avantage of it.  If you have questions, please call us at 616-827-7596.

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and charitable planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for “stuff” – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate, charitable, and asset protection planning for all generations (“young” and “experienced”), the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses, and pet planning.  He enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients centered on their family’s values, insights, stories and experiences.