Explore the IRA Charitable Rollover
If you are age 70½ or older, you can take advantage of a simple way to support Northwestern and receive tax benefits in return. With an IRA charitable rollover—also known as a qualified charitable distribution—you can transfer up to $100,000 per person ($200,000 per couple) per year from a traditional or Roth IRA directly to the University. You will not pay income taxes on this money.
Why Consider This Gift?
- Your gift will be put to use today, allowing you to see it in action.
- You pay no income taxes on the gift. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so you benefit even if you do not itemize your deductions.
- If you reached the age of 70½ on or before Dec. 31, 2019, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution for the year. If you turn 70½ on or after Jan. 1, 2020, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution starting at the age of 72. (Note: The required minimum distribution has been waived for 2020, per the CARES Act signed into law on March 27, 2020.)
- Since the gift doesn’t count as income, it can reduce your annual income level. This may help lower your Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax.
Making an IRA Charitable Rollover Gift Is Simple.
- Notify your IRA administrator of your intent with this form.
- Contact Northwestern to notify us of your gift with this form.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. I’ve already named Northwestern as the beneficiary of my IRA. What are the benefits if I make a gift now instead of after my lifetime?
A. By making a gift this year of up to $100,000 from your IRA, you can see your dollars at work. You are jump-starting the legacy you would like to leave and giving yourself the joy of watching your philanthropy take shape. Moreover, you can fulfill any outstanding pledge you may have made by transferring that amount from your IRA as long as it is $100,000 or less for the year.
Q. I'm turning age 70½ in a few months. Can I make this gift now?
A. No. The legislation requires you to reach age 70½ by the date you make the gift.
Q. I have several retirement accounts—some are pensions and some are IRAs. Does it matter which retirement account I use?
A. Yes. Direct gifts to a qualified charity can be made only from an IRA. Under certain circumstances, however, you may be able to roll assets from a pension, profit sharing, 401(k) or 403(b) plan into an IRA and then make the transfer from the IRA directly to Northwestern. To determine if a rollover to an IRA is available for your plan, speak with your plan administrator.
Q. Can my gift be used as my required minimum distribution under the law?
A. Yes. If you reached the age of 70½ on or before Dec. 31, 2019, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution for the year. If you turn 70½ on or after Jan. 1, 2020, you can use your gift to satisfy all or part of your required minimum distribution starting at the age of 72. Contact your IRA custodian to complete the gift. (Note: The required minimum distribution has been waived for 2020, per the CARES Act.)
Q. When do I need to make my gift?
A. We must receive your gift by Dec. 31 for your donation to qualify this year. If you have check-writing privileges on your IRA account, please mail your check by Dec. 18 in order to give us time to process your gift before the end of the year.
Q. Do I need to give my entire IRA to be eligible for the tax benefits?
A. No. You can give any amount under this provision, as long as it is $100,000 or less per year. If your IRA is valued at more than $100,000, you can transfer a portion of it to fund a charitable gift.
Q. I have two charities I want to support. Can I give $100,000 from my IRA to each?
A. No. Under the law, you can give a maximum of $100,000. For example, you can give each organization $50,000 this year or any other combination that totals $100,000 or less. Any amount of more than $100,000 in one year must be reported as taxable income.
Q. My spouse and I would like to give more than $100,000. How can we do that?
A. If you have a spouse (as defined by the IRS) who is 70½ or older and has an IRA, they can also give up to $100,000 from their IRA.
Please consult with your tax professionals if you are contemplating a charitable gift.
- Contact Northwestern Gift Planning at 800-826-6709 or email@example.com for additional information on making a gift from your IRA.
- Seek the advice of your financial or legal advisor.
- Ask your IRA administrator about making a direct transfer to Northwestern or have the administrator send a check from your account to us. (To be tax-free, the donation must go directly from your account to Northwestern without passing through your hands.)
Legal name: Northwestern University
Address: 633 Clark Street, Evanston, Illinois 60208
Federal tax ID number: 36-2167817
Information contained herein was accurate at the time of posting. The information on this website is not intended as legal or tax advice. For such advice, please consult an attorney or tax advisor. Figures cited in any examples are for illustrative purposes only. References to tax rates include federal taxes only and are subject to change. State law may further impact your individual results. Annuities are subject to regulation by the State of California. Payments under such agreements, however, are not protected or otherwise guaranteed by any government agency or the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association. A charitable gift annuity is not regulated by the Oklahoma Insurance Department and is not protected by a guaranty association affiliated with the Oklahoma Insurance Department. Charitable gift annuities are not regulated by and are not under the jurisdiction of the South Dakota Division of Insurance.
Northwestern does not offer charitable gift annuities in all states, so please contact us to determine eligibility.