QCDs are a direct donation to an established charity from an IRA without impacting Adjusted Gross Income. It does count toward Required Minimum Distribution.
The current arrangement is that QCDs disappear December 31, 2013. I guess it is possible that they could be renewed for 2014. 2012 QCDs weren't approved until January 2013 so planning is uncertain.
One option I am considering is making my 2014 donations in December, 2013.
What do you think?
The tax commentary I've been reading says the allowance for QCDs is
likely to be renewed, and perhaps made permanent if some kind of major
tax overhaul is passed. That's just a guess based on what is happening
in committees currently and things can change. More significant, I
think, is that there isn't quite the same urgency to tax legislation as
there was in late 2012, so it's possible none gets passed at all for
awhile. You may be get to mid-December without knowing the answer for 2014.
So "bird in hand" - moving your 2014 donations into 2013 assures that
you both make the donation and get the QCD benefit. The charity may be
happy to get the money earlier, anyway.
Make sure you do your QCD early enough that the charity receives and
deposits the check from the IRA custodian. One time I recall a charity
losing a check internally and it was eventually credited back to the
IRA. It didn't have an effect in that case, but if it had been a QCD
close to year-end that was necessary for satisfying the RMD, it could
have triggered a big mess. Maybe give it a couple more weeks and if no
relevant tax bill looks imminent, make the decision and get the