IRA distributions are generally taxable; however, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended the provision authorizing qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) for 2012 and 2013. A QCD allows someone who is 70½ or older to transfer their IRA distributions directly to an eligible charitable organization tax-free. Each year, you can exclude up to $100,000 of these QCDs from gross income. First available in 2006, this provision had expired at the end of 2011.
The QCD option is available regardless of whether you itemize deductions on Schedule A. Transferred amounts are not taxable and no charitable contribution deduction is available for the transfer. QCDs are counted in determining whether you have met your IRA required minimum distributions for the year.