IRA Charitable Distributions

As of 2016 anybody 70.5 years or older has a new option for making gifts to the Lord’s work at church, a local WELS-affiliated ministry, and/or a WELS area of ministry: your IRA!

Typically IRA distributions are taxable, but, as of 2016, Congress made permanent the opportunity known as the IRA qualified charitable distribution where direct transfers from an IRA to charity are free from federal and potentially state income tax for anyone 70.5 or older. If you do not need the required minimum distributions that you receive from your IRA, consider directing those to WELS to save on taxes, then use the cash you would have given to charity for other needs.

Under the new law you and your spouse, assuming he or she is 70.5 years or older and has an IRA, may each make direct transfers of up to $100,000 per year to charity. Rather than being treated as taxable income, direct transfers to charity are wholly excluded for federal income tax purposes. These transfers do not generate a charitable deduction, but the relief from tax impact is often more advantageous. Consult your tax or financial advisor to determine the most appropriate gift assets for your situation.

Contact the investment firm that handles your IRA to request a direct transfer of IRA assets to a particular WELS ministry (download an authorization letter template below). To ensure that your IRA transfer is not taxable, the check must be made payable to the charity, not to you personally.

You can give to multiple WELS designations by directing your transfer to WELS Foundation. WELS Foundation will distribute funds to the ministries per your instructions and provide you with the proper acknowledgement.

If interested, talk to your financial planners and your local WELS Christian giving counselor to learn more.

Stewardship Toolbox – January 2015

Mission prayers ask God’s blessings on different areas of WELS ministry.

Planned giving reprintables are intended to encourage members about good stewardship practices and to inform them about ways to make planned gifts to benefit your church and other WELS ministry.

Stewardship by the Lectionary is stewardship-themed lessons every week based on readings from the lectionary.

Congregational Planned Giving Program

Our weekly offering at worship is not the only opportunity we have for giving to the Lord. We can honor the Lord when planning for the transition of our accumulated wealth (our “estate”) at life’s end. And there are a variety of other opportunities that enable us to support the Lord’s work now (while at the same time receiving tax benefits). The Bible encourages planned giving—intentional, cheerful management of our blessings to care for family and to return a portion of our possessions to our Creator and Savior God.

The purpose of the congregational planned giving manual is (Part I) to help your congregation jump-start a program of promoting planned giving opportunities to members. Part II shares an easy way to start a congregational endowment fund through WELS Foundation. Part III tells how to set up a congregational planned giving committee to provide further manpower for carrying out this work. Part IV discusses how to establish and administer an endowment fund. And Part V highlights WELS organizations that can help you with any of these steps.