The Secure Act and the QCD

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The “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” Act, aka the SECURE Act, was among several bills attached recently to a “must-pass” appropriations bill that was signed into law on December 20, 2019. The SECURE Act includes changes to the rules governing retirement plans, including several provisions relevant to making gifts via a charitable IRA rollover (a Qualified Charitable Distribution or QCD.) The SECURE Act became effective on January 1, 2020.

The IRA charitable rollover or QCD is a terrific way to make a tax-free gift to Williams College using your traditional IRA.

How Do I Qualify?

  • You must be 70½ years old or older at the time of the gift
  • Gifts must go directly from your IRA to Williams
  • Gifts must come from an IRA account
  • Gifts cannot exceed $100,000 per donor

Benefits of an IRA Charitable Rollover Gift

The SECURE Act increased the age at which you must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from 70½ to 72. If you have not reached age 72 and aren’t required to take your RMD there are reasons to consider a QCD at 70½. First, increases in the standard deduction mean far fewer taxpayers are able to itemize their income tax charitable deductions. If you don’t itemize, a QCD offers all the benefits of an income tax charitable deduction. You can’t claim a deduction for your QCD, but your QCD is not included in your income. The QCD is a tax-free gift.

Another reason to consider a QCD at 70½ is to reduce the balance in your IRA. At age 72 or older your RMD is based on the balance in your IRA at the end of each year multiplied times a factor published by the IRS. You may be in a position where you don’t want or need the income from your IRA. Higher income can increase Medicare premiums and other tax issues. Consider making QCDs at 70½ to reduce the balance in your IRA.

How to Make Your Gift


Instruct your IRA administrator to mail a check directly to Williams (payable to Williams College) to: Manager of Gift Administration, Williams College, 75 Park Street, Williamstown, MA 01267. The College’s Tax-Exempt ID number is 04-2104847. Please make sure that your administrator encloses a letter along with your check stating: your name; the purpose of your gift (e.g.  Alumni Fund); and notes that it is a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA. This information can also be stated in the memo line of your check

If you have an IRA checkbook you can simply mail a check (payable to Williams College) to: Manager of Gift Administration, Williams College, 75 Park Street, Williamstown, MA 01267. The College’s Tax-Exempt ID number is 04-2104847.

*Please remember when using an IRA checkbook, the IRA administrator generally considers the date of the gift to be the date the check clears (not when the check is postmarked). For example, if you write a check and mail it on 12/31 and it is cashed by Williams (or any charity) on 1/1, the date of gift is the new year. To avoid penalties for not taking your full RMD, be sure that checks from an IRA checkbook are issued in plenty of time to clear within the calendar year.


If your IRA administrator prefers to make a cash wire transfer from your retirement account to Williams, please fill out the wire transfer letter ( ) and ask him/her to contact the Williams College Controller’s Office at: securities​@williams​.edu or (413) 597-4118.

Williams College does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult your own legal and tax adviser in connection with gift and planning matters.