The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) revives for 2012 and 2013 the opportunity to make tax-free IRA distributions (up to $100,000 per year) for charitable purposes. If you’re age 70½ or older, you can make a direct contribution from your IRA to a qualified charitable organization without owing any income tax on the distribution. This “charitable IRA rollover” can be used to satisfy required minimum distributions.
To help taxpayers take advantage of the 2012 revival, ATRA allows a charitable rollover made in January 2013 to be treated for tax purposes as if it had been made Dec. 31, 2012. And if you took an IRA distribution in December 2012 and contribute it to charity in January 2013, the “direct contribution” requirement is waived; you can contribute the distribution to a qualified charity in January 2013 and treat it as a 2012 direct contribution, provided the other requirements are met.