The option for qualified charitable distributions first emerged as part of the Pension Protection Act of 2006. This provision has been extended several times since then but now has been made permanent through the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015. Here’s how it works:

Donors who are at least 70-½ years old can make gifts directly to qualified public charities from their IRAs (“Qualified Charitable Distributions” or “QCDs”) without the distributions being counted as gross income to the taxpayer.  Because the distribution is excluded from gross income, there is no income tax charitable deduction for this type of gift. Taxpayers can give up to $100,000 per year under this provision ($200,000 for a married couple). QCDs must be made…