RMD donations using checks

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trickdog60
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RMD donations using checks

Post by trickdog60 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:03 am

I'm new at this site, so please be patient. I have check writing in my Vanguard traditional IRA. I know I can submit a request for Vanguard to send me a check for a specific 401c3 (church, university, charity, etc) . Prior to 2018, I could write a check directly from my traditional IRA account, directly to the 401c3, and have it count towards my RMD. Does the new tax law still allow checks written directly to the 401c3 by the IRA owner from the IRA to be counted as both a contribution? Or, as my flagship rep said, reading from the Vanguard script, "IRA contributions must come directly from the financial institution."

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Tyler Aspect
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Tyler Aspect » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:44 pm

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trickdog60
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by trickdog60 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:27 pm

Maybe I wasn't clear. I have a checking account in my IRA. The check I would write directly to the charity would be written by me, written TO the charity, and be on a Vanguard check that is part of my Vanguard IRA account. Thus, the $$ would go directly from my Vanguard IRA to the charity, written on a check I wrote and signed. A 2016 article I read indicates that is OK. I'm curious if the 2018 tax law changed any of that.

Alan S.
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Alan S. » Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:15 pm

trickdog60 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:27 pm
Maybe I wasn't clear. I have a checking account in my IRA. The check I would write directly to the charity would be written by me, written TO the charity, and be on a Vanguard check that is part of my Vanguard IRA account. Thus, the $$ would go directly from my Vanguard IRA to the charity, written on a check I wrote and signed. A 2016 article I read indicates that is OK. I'm curious if the 2018 tax law changed any of that.

An IRA owner check qualifies as a QCD per Notice 2007-7, Q 41:

Q-41. Is a check from an IRA made payable to a charitable organization described in § 408(d)(8) and delivered by the IRA owner to the charitable organization a direct payment to such organization?

A-41. Yes. If a check from an IRA is made payable to a charitable organization described in § 408(d)(8) and delivered by the IRA owner to the charitable organization, the payment to the charitable organization will be considered a direct payment by the IRA trustee to the charitable organization for purposes of § 408(d)(8)(B)(i).


The TCJA did nothing to change this. But if you send your own IRA check to the charity and they lose it or do not present it for payment by the end of the year, Vanguard will not know about the distribution, will not report it on Form 1099R, and your RMD may be delinquent.

sport
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by sport » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:31 pm

Alan S. wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:15 pm
But if you send your own IRA check to the charity and they lose it or do not present it for payment by the end of the year, Vanguard will not know about the distribution, will not report it on Form 1099R, and your RMD may be delinquent.
Right. Therefore there are two things you should do in this regard:
1. Don't wait until late in the year to mail the check. Personally I would not mail one later than the end of November.
2. Monitor your account to make sure the withdrawal occurs. If it does not happen before the end of the year, make another withdrawal manually to make sure you meet your RMD requirements if necessary.

Bir48die
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Bir48die » Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:44 pm

To follow up on this a direct check to a tax exempt charity will not be taxable to you. It is not treated as a normal RMD. Since it's not taxed, you will not get the tax benefit of a charitable contribution.

Last year as a volunteer I did free taxes through Tax Aide. A wonderful lady came in with her very aged husband and they were writing $30,000 or $40,000 in direct charity contributions. I was confused on tax treatment so I went to their prior year's taxes and the person gave them a charitable deduction. I asked a number of people and they said to give it to them, so I did. I was bugged about it and did research and of course, they could not deduct it so I made a mistake.

This year she's back and someone else is doing her taxes and started asking the question. Unfortunately I piped in and said it wasn't and I did her incorrectly last year. Long story short, she didn't get the deduction and would have to do two amended returns to fix the wrong. She of course would have a significant liability. She took it all in good stride. They must have had a generous portfolio.

jdb
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by jdb » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:06 pm

I may be missing something here. Why not just ask Vanguard to send you the QCD check payable to the 501(c)(3) charity and you mail or deliver to the charity. That way there is no issue as to qualification. Don’t understand what benefit there would be to change this simple process by sending direct check.

sport
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by sport » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:04 pm

jdb wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:06 pm
I may be missing something here. Why not just ask Vanguard to send you the QCD check payable to the 501(c)(3) charity and you mail or deliver to the charity. That way there is no issue as to qualification. Don’t understand what benefit there would be to change this simple process by sending direct check.
One problem with this is that you do not know if the check was ever received and cashed. The money comes out of your account when Vanguard writes the check. The only thing you see is the letter of acknowledgement from the charity, IF they send one. When you write your own check, you can see when the money is paid out.

sport
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by sport » Wed Jun 06, 2018 7:07 pm

Bir48die wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 5:44 pm
To follow up on this a direct check to a tax exempt charity will not be taxable to you. It is not treated as a normal RMD.
A QCD whether written by the custodian or the account holder is part of the RMD, if the RMD has not been completed earlier. What you cannot do is make a QCD and then use the same donation as an itemized deduction.

trickdog60
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by trickdog60 » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:08 pm

Honestly, folks, your responses haven't cleared things up for me. I think I like the response from "sport" that says if the money comes out of the IRA, whether written to the charity by the IRA owner or Vanguard, it can be counted towards the RMD and as a donation be used to reduce income.

Can someone provide a link to and IRS document that discusses the details of using IRA funds for donations? With the new tax law, I would think the number of IRA holders who want to donate directly from their IRA will increase dramatically.

Getting the IRS on the phone is impossible, so I may make an appointment to talk to them. Also, I may contact some CPA friends. Key is if the IRS has a publication on the new tax law that spells all this out.

Someone in the string of responses asked why not just have Vanguard send the check directly. That's a good strategy 80% of the time for planned giving. The other 20% is when the charity is promoting a "match" (such as what public television frequently does), or, as someone mentioned, reputable charities sometimes neglect to send acknowledgement of a donation, so my cancelled check is a good starting point to have them send a duplicate since Vanguard keeps no record of individual donations made on my behalf.

RudyS
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by RudyS » Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:51 pm

Alan S. wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 4:15 pm
trickdog60 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:27 pm
Maybe I wasn't clear. I have a checking account in my IRA. The check I would write directly to the charity would be written by me, written TO the charity, and be on a Vanguard check that is part of my Vanguard IRA account. Thus, the $$ would go directly from my Vanguard IRA to the charity, written on a check I wrote and signed. A 2016 article I read indicates that is OK. I'm curious if the 2018 tax law changed any of that.

An IRA owner check qualifies as a QCD per Notice 2007-7, Q 41:

Q-41. Is a check from an IRA made payable to a charitable organization described in § 408(d)(8) and delivered by the IRA owner to the charitable organization a direct payment to such organization?

A-41. Yes. If a check from an IRA is made payable to a charitable organization described in § 408(d)(8) and delivered by the IRA owner to the charitable organization, the payment to the charitable organization will be considered a direct payment by the IRA trustee to the charitable organization for purposes of § 408(d)(8)(B)(i).


The TCJA did nothing to change this. But if you send your own IRA check to the charity and they lose it or do not present it for payment by the end of the year, Vanguard will not know about the distribution, will not report it on Form 1099R, and your RMD may be delinquent.
To OP: This should have answered your question. And again, yes you can use a check written on your IRA if you write (and send) it to the charity, not yourself.

sport
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by sport » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:02 pm

trickdog60 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:08 pm
Can someone provide a link to and IRS document that discusses the details of using IRA funds for donations?
I tried unsuccessfully to copy the link. However, if you go to IRS.com and open Publication 590-B, you will find the rules for disbursements from IRA accounts.

kaneohe
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by kaneohe » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:08 am

trickdog60 wrote:
Wed Jun 06, 2018 8:08 pm
................................................n the string of responses asked why not just have Vanguard send the check directly. That's a good strategy 80% of the time for planned giving. The other 20% is when the charity is promoting a "match" (such as what public television frequently does), or, as someone mentioned, reputable charities sometimes neglect to send acknowledgement of a donation, so my cancelled check is a good starting point to have them send a duplicate since Vanguard keeps no record of individual donations made on my behalf[.
If true, sounds like another thing to get them to work on..............I often wonder when I don't get a timely receipt from the charity whether they have cashed the check but not sent a receipt or if they haven't received/processed the check yet. Schwab has a record of the individual checks and can tell me if they were cashed or not.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:22 am

I don't see why you would want to relinquish control over all of this. You won't see if the charity got the check (especially if there's a match that's time sensitive) and you won't know if the charity cashed the check in time to qualify for this year's RMDs.

If I were doing this, I'd have the RMD check mailed directly to me or easier, deposited in a taxable account. Then I would mail or bring a check to the charity from my own checking account. Using this method, I see that the RMD was removed and I see when the charity cashes the check.

Are you really going through all this so you won't have to write a single check?
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Wild Willie
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Wild Willie » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:01 am

Personally, I have VG write the check to my requested charity, then send the check to me and I give it to the charity. In this way, the $$ are taken out of my IRA without me having to pay income tax on the withdrawal. If I would do it the way the OP is suggesting, wouldn't the $$ taken out be taxable? Yes, I realize that the donation would be tax deductible, but that is not as desireable as a non-taxable event, especially if one does not itemize. Perhaps I'm missing something,

CnC
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by CnC » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:03 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:22 am
I don't see why you would want to relinquish control over all of this. You won't see if the charity got the check (especially if there's a match that's time sensitive) and you won't know if the charity cashed the check in time to qualify for this year's RMDs.

If I were doing this, I'd have the RMD check mailed directly to me or easier, deposited in a taxable account. Then I would mail or bring a check to the charity from my own checking account. Using this method, I see that the RMD was removed and I see when the charity cashes the check.

Are you really going through all this so you won't have to write a single check?

Not at all, if I am not mistaken by donating your rmd to charity you are getting very preferencial tax treatment.


But if you take the rmd yourself then donate equal amount to charity you are stuck either paying taxes on the donation or itemizing the donation and losing out on the standard deduction.

CnC
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by CnC » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:05 am

Wild Willie wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:01 am
Personally, I have VG write the check to my requested charity, then send the check to me and I give it to the charity. In this way, the $$ are taken out of my IRA without me having to pay income tax on the withdrawal. If I would do it the way the OP is suggesting, wouldn't the $$ taken out be taxable? Yes, I realize that the donation would be tax deductible, but that is not as desireable as a non-taxable event, especially if one does not itemize. Perhaps I'm missing something,
Read my post right after yours.

All the op is doing is writing the check themselves rather than asking vanguard to do so. It still comes out of the IRA. I'm assuming they are doing this to be a bit more personal with their local church.

pshonore
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by pshonore » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:38 am

CnC wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:03 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:22 am
I don't see why you would want to relinquish control over all of this. You won't see if the charity got the check (especially if there's a match that's time sensitive) and you won't know if the charity cashed the check in time to qualify for this year's RMDs.

If I were doing this, I'd have the RMD check mailed directly to me or easier, deposited in a taxable account. Then I would mail or bring a check to the charity from my own checking account. Using this method, I see that the RMD was removed and I see when the charity cashes the check.

Are you really going through all this so you won't have to write a single check?

Not at all, if I am not mistaken by donating your rmd to charity you are getting very preferencial tax treatment.


But if you take the rmd yourself then donate equal amount to charity you are stuck either paying taxes on the donation or itemizing the donation and losing out on the standard deduction.
Agree, if the check is made out to you, there is no QCD, just a normal distribution. Now doing it that way and making a separate "itemizable" contribution may have the same effect for Federal taxes but it won't reduce AGI. That means in a state like CT where AGI is used as a starting point for tax calculation, you will lose the deduction from state taxes.

sport
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by sport » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:44 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:22 am
I don't see why you would want to relinquish control over all of this. You won't see if the charity got the check (especially if there's a match that's time sensitive) and you won't know if the charity cashed the check in time to qualify for this year's RMDs.

If I were doing this, I'd have the RMD check mailed directly to me or easier, deposited in a taxable account. Then I would mail or bring a check to the charity from my own checking account. Using this method, I see that the RMD was removed and I see when the charity cashes the check.

Are you really going through all this so you won't have to write a single check?
Jack, what you describe makes the most sense. However, due to IRS rules, that will not qualify as a QCD. It would just be a deduction if you itemize. QCDs have a number of advantages. They reduce your taxable income even if you do not itemize. They may make less of your social security taxable. They may lower your state income tax. They may lower your IRMAA Medicare premium, etc.

Why the government requires the check to the charity to be written on the IRA account instead of your own account is a mystery. The government works in strange ways. We don't have to understand their rules, but we do have to follow them.

Wild Willie
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Wild Willie » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:17 am

sport wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:44 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:22 am
I don't see why you would want to relinquish control over all of this. You won't see if the charity got the check (especially if there's a match that's time sensitive) and you won't know if the charity cashed the check in time to qualify for this year's RMDs.

If I were doing this, I'd have the RMD check mailed directly to me or easier, deposited in a taxable account. Then I would mail or bring a check to the charity from my own checking account. Using this method, I see that the RMD was removed and I see when the charity cashes the check.

Are you really going through all this so you won't have to write a single check?
Jack, what you describe makes the most sense. However, due to IRS rules, that will not qualify as a QCD. It would just be a deduction if you itemize. QCDs have a number of advantages. They reduce your taxable income even if you do not itemize. They may make less of your social security taxable. They may lower your state income tax. They may lower your IRMAA Medicare premium, etc.

Why the government requires the check to the charity to be written on the IRA account instead of your own account is a mystery. The government works in strange ways. We don't have to understand their rules, but we do have to follow them.
That's what I thought because I didn't know it was possible to write a check directly from an IRA, at least not with VG. I have a friend that does that but he has his $$ with Schwab. With VG, I think we have to first move the $$ from the IRA, account for the taxes, then to a brokerage account from where a check can be written, but in that way, as Sport says, you only get to claim a tax deduction.

sport
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by sport » Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:24 am

Wild Willie wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:17 am
sport wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:44 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:22 am
I don't see why you would want to relinquish control over all of this. You won't see if the charity got the check (especially if there's a match that's time sensitive) and you won't know if the charity cashed the check in time to qualify for this year's RMDs.

If I were doing this, I'd have the RMD check mailed directly to me or easier, deposited in a taxable account. Then I would mail or bring a check to the charity from my own checking account. Using this method, I see that the RMD was removed and I see when the charity cashes the check.

Are you really going through all this so you won't have to write a single check?
Jack, what you describe makes the most sense. However, due to IRS rules, that will not qualify as a QCD. It would just be a deduction if you itemize. QCDs have a number of advantages. They reduce your taxable income even if you do not itemize. They may make less of your social security taxable. They may lower your state income tax. They may lower your IRMAA Medicare premium, etc.

Why the government requires the check to the charity to be written on the IRA account instead of your own account is a mystery. The government works in strange ways. We don't have to understand their rules, but we do have to follow them.
That's what I thought because I didn't know it was possible to write a check directly from an IRA, at least not with VG. I have a friend that does that but he has his $$ with Schwab. With VG, I think we have to first move the $$ from the IRA, account for the taxes, then to a brokerage account from where a check can be written, but in that way, as Sport says, you only get to claim a tax deduction.
The rules for Schwab and the rules for Vanguard are the same. Vanguard does not make the rules, the IRS does. Vanguard will let you write checks against your IRA account. Vanguard checks, however, have a $250 minimum. I have such a checkbook from Vanguard and have used it for QCDs.

trickdog60
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by trickdog60 » Thu Jun 07, 2018 12:18 pm

Excellent conversation, although I'm not sure I could follow it all. A few points seem to stand out:
** Whether the check to donate from my IRA comes from Vanguard or me, either one will count towards as donations and the RMD, and thus reduce the RMD's effect on 1040 income. Someone quoted an IRS publication indicating that.
** Someone said something about whether taxes are withheld may affect if a "donation" counts towards the RMD; or there is some connection between RMD withholding and donations. That doesn't seem to make sense since nothing will be withheld from VG's donation check that is made out the charity and sent to me for delivery. Once funds leave the IRA, withholding or no withholding, and enter the "taxable zone", they are included in the RMD.
** Whoever said that when VG writes the check, it is certain it has been w/drawn from the IRA. That is a strong point in favor of having VG write it, even though it is sent to me. When I write the check, I am at the mercy of the USPS to deliver the check and the charity to cash the check. However, since individual tax returns generally follow a "cash basis" principle, when I wrote the check and have a postage receipt, I have pretty strong evidence the check should count when it was written and sent.
** The $250 minimum for VG checks I write from an IRA creates a problem with donations less than $250. I'll need to confirm that with VG.
** My reason for wanting to write the check is twofold: a) to retain the flexibility of spontaneously making donations that are being donated in connection with a match. Matches are common in our local fund drives and National Public Radio station. If I call them to commit an amount, I am hoping they count my verbal commitment to their match (versus giving a Visa card). 2) Even more confusing is when a major university requires a contribution simultaneous with payment for season tickets. If there is no contribution or if it isn't connected to the season ticket payment, the contribution will not be counted.

All in all, after this long chain of comments, thank you very much, I am convinced that using VG's internal process is best. Have them send me check(s) written to the charity which I can then forward with a note asking the charity to send me donation confirmation. I will use the checks I write against my IRA only for situations where the VG process doesn't work.

Thank you again.

I will submit another post looking for an IRS publication that explains if taking all of one year's withholding requirements in the December RMD is good enough for the IRS. Ideally, I would like to take no withholding on anything during the year, then deduct all the year's required federal and state withholding from my December RMD. If I pay them a bit much, I'm only loaning the gov't $$ for a few months, and I can apply a small overpayment to the following year's taxes. Your thoughts? I'll post this separately.

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Epsilon Delta » Thu Jun 07, 2018 1:51 pm

While there is a potential issue with lost checks resulting in an insufficient RMD, the IRS has a history of being pretty lenient for a missed RMD if you take the RMD late and request absolution on form 5329. Since they forgive "I did not know better" I'd expect them to forgive "the post office ate my check".

Thus I would not worry too much that there is a remote possibility that a check could get lost in the mail. OTOH I would not push it by writing a check to a charity I knew was administratively incompetent on Dec 20th.

Lynette
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Lynette » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:33 pm

This year I asked both Vanguard and Fidelity to send me checks made out to charities as QCDs. I received checks from both promptly. Then I mailed the checks to the charities and asked them to send me a receipt so I could prove the checks were cashed. All went well. Then I took the remainder as RMDs and this is reflected on both the Vanguard and Fidelity websites that my RMDs have been completed. I agree with the OP that this does not give me the flexibility to make spontaneous donations to get a match. Two of the charities were associated with church groups so they leave me alone. The third one sends me several solicitations every month. Pros and cons.

Wild Willie
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Wild Willie » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:34 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:24 am
Wild Willie wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 9:17 am
sport wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:44 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:22 am
I don't see why you would want to relinquish control over all of this. You won't see if the charity got the check (especially if there's a match that's time sensitive) and you won't know if the charity cashed the check in time to qualify for this year's RMDs.

If I were doing this, I'd have the RMD check mailed directly to me or easier, deposited in a taxable account. Then I would mail or bring a check to the charity from my own checking account. Using this method, I see that the RMD was removed and I see when the charity cashes the check.

Are you really going through all this so you won't have to write a single check?
Jack, what you describe makes the most sense. However, due to IRS rules, that will not qualify as a QCD. It would just be a deduction if you itemize. QCDs have a number of advantages. They reduce your taxable income even if you do not itemize. They may make less of your social security taxable. They may lower your state income tax. They may lower your IRMAA Medicare premium, etc.

Why the government requires the check to the charity to be written on the IRA account instead of your own account is a mystery. The government works in strange ways. We don't have to understand their rules, but we do have to follow them.
That's what I thought because I didn't know it was possible to write a check directly from an IRA, at least not with VG. I have a friend that does that but he has his $$ with Schwab. With VG, I think we have to first move the $$ from the IRA, account for the taxes, then to a brokerage account from where a check can be written, but in that way, as Sport says, you only get to claim a tax deduction.
The rules for Schwab and the rules for Vanguard are the same. Vanguard does not make the rules, the IRS does. Vanguard will let you write checks against your IRA account. Vanguard checks, however, have a $250 minimum. I have such a checkbook from Vanguard and have used it for QCDs.
I specifically called VG Flagship Services and asked that question several months ago and was told that was not available, i.e. VG had to write and issue the check. Guess my rep didn't know what he was talking about. And no, he mentioned nothing about a $250 minimum.

sport
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by sport » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:04 pm

Wild Willie wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:34 pm
I specifically called VG Flagship Services and asked that question several months ago and was told that was not available, i.e. VG had to write and issue the check. Guess my rep didn't know what he was talking about. And no, he mentioned nothing about a $250 minimum.
I just called and asked if I could get checks on the Prime Money Market if I had it in my IRA. I was told yes. So, I moved some of my IRA money into the MMF, and requested the checks. They arrived. Vanguard treats any QCDs as ordinary withdrawals, no matter how you make them. They cannot and do not verify that the charities are "qualified" and therefore they are just withdrawals as far as Vanguard is concerned. The 1099R just calls them withdrawals. They become QCDs when you complete your 1040 tax form, assuming you have met the requirements. If I wanted to, I could use those checks for other RMD withdrawals that are not QCDs. However, I have no reason to do that.
The $250 minimum is actually printed on the checks. Each check says "not valid for less than $250.00". It is printed over the signature line on the check.

Wild Willie
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Re: RMD donations using checks

Post by Wild Willie » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:28 pm

sport wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:04 pm
Wild Willie wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:34 pm
I specifically called VG Flagship Services and asked that question several months ago and was told that was not available, i.e. VG had to write and issue the check. Guess my rep didn't know what he was talking about. And no, he mentioned nothing about a $250 minimum.
I just called and asked if I could get checks on the Prime Money Market if I had it in my IRA. I was told yes. So, I moved some of my IRA money into the MMF, and requested the checks. They arrived. Vanguard treats any QCDs as ordinary withdrawals, no matter how you make them. They cannot and do not verify that the charities are "qualified" and therefore they are just withdrawals as far as Vanguard is concerned. The 1099R just calls them withdrawals. They become QCDs when you complete your 1040 tax form, assuming you have met the requirements. If I wanted to, I could use those checks for other RMD withdrawals that are not QCDs. However, I have no reason to do that.
The $250 minimum is actually printed on the checks. Each check says "not valid for less than $250.00". It is printed over the signature line on the check.
And therein lies the answer. While I asked about me being able to write checks for this purpose, I guess the rep was thinking I wanted to write them from my IRA investment funds, didn't think to ask about moving $$ to my IRA MM account.

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