Progress Report: Charitable IRA Initiative

June, 2015

Progress Report: Charitable IRA Initiative
The Charitable IRA Initiative is a 501(c)(4) organization created to pursue legislation that would expand and make permanent the Charitable IRA Rollover.  Following is the first of periodic reports you may expect to receive regarding progress in achieving this objective.

This report has been drafted by Conrad Teitell, pro bono counsel to the Initiative, who is leading the legislative effort.

“The Charitable IRA Initiative continues actively to seek legislation that would make the expired direct Charitable IRA Rollover permanent and expanded to include life income gifts.

“Our recent activities:  meetings in Washington D.C. in April and May with key legislators and their aides, plus a meeting with Ways and Means Committee staff members.  We have also had two meetings with staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (“JCT”).  These are hard-to-get meetings.  Congress wants to know the cost (called “the score”) of the proposed legislation. The JCT gets over 10,000 requests per year for scores and, we are told, can only score a few hundred bills.  The congressman and senator who have asked that our bill be scored have been told that we will have a score in June.  We were fortunate in being able to meet the JCT and give them our reasons why the life income provision could have a neutral or positive score.

“It has been a cliché that the two things one should not see being made are sausages and laws.  The U.S. Senate demonstrated this just recently by making the America Gives More Act (H.R. 644) passed by a two-thirds majority in the House and put on the Senate calendar – disappear from the face of the earth.

“How could that be?  It takes 60 votes to be placed on the Senate calendar.  The Senate was debating the Pacific trade bill, but didn’t have 60 votes.  However, there was the America Gives More Act (that would make the direct Charitable IRA Rollover and a few other charitable provisions permanent) sitting on its calendar.  PRESTO: the title of the bill was changed to a trade bill title, all of the charitable provisions were removed, and the trade provisions were substituted.

“Bottom line:  There is no longer a bill passed by the House and before the Senate that makes permanent the direct Charitable IRA Rollover.  For this reason, we believe our efforts to make permanent the expired law and expand it takes on additional and timely importance.

“We will be back in Washington for two days in June to press our case.”

March 31, 2015

Press Contact:
Lindsay L. Lapole III
American Council on Gift Annuities

(Washington D.C.) A group of national leaders in planned giving and philanthropy have formed the Charitable IRA Initiative, a 501(c) 4) non-profit organization with the sole purpose of encouraging members of the U. S. Congress and the President to enact permanent legislation enabling owners of IRAs to transfer their IRA assets to the American charities. IRA rollovers could be outright gifts up to $100,000 per year or life income agreements up to $500,000/year.  There are no income taxes on IRA charitable rollovers.

Lindsay Lapole, Chairman of the American Council on Gift Annuities, is the president of the Charitable IRA Initiative; Michael Kenyon, President/CEO of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning is vice president; John Pierce, Senior Gift Planner, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN, is secretary; and Sister Georgette Lehmuth, President/CEO of the National Catholic Development Conference, is treasurer.  Conrad Teitell serves as the volunteer legal counsel to the Charitable IRA Initiative.

Lapole says, “IRA rollover legislation, allowing outright gifts of IRAs up to $100,000/year, enacted in 2006.  It has been periodically renewed and resulted in substantial gifts to America’s charities.  The temporary nature of IRA renewal bills has dampened the growth of IRA gifts to America’s non-profit organizations.  These are the very organizations upon which we all rely to deliver human services, provide education, health services, support of the arts, conservation and so many other services that play key roles in providing the quality of life Americans hold dear.”

“Our dual agenda items are to first make the outright gift IRA rollover provision permanent. This will allow IRA owners 70½ years and older to give $100,000 annually  in outright gifts from their personal IRA accounts without having to wait until late December to receive word from Congress and the White House.  Further, the expansion of the legislation will also allow IRA owners 59 ½ and older to create life income agreements with portions of their IRA assets up to a limit of $500,000 annually.  These agreements will pay income to those IRA owners and their spouses for life, often with a larger payout (5% minimum in the case of charitable trusts) than their IRA required minimum distribution (RMD).At the same time these donors will be taking the opportunity of having a phenomenally positive impact on America’s needy. Because these IRA rollover gifts are not deductible, we believe that permanent and life-income IRA rollovers will be revenue neutral or even positive to the Treasury.”